As is the case with nearly all advancements in the field of technology, the UAE seems to be ahead of other Arab countries when it comes to COVID-19 testing.
A new technology that can diagnose a person infected with the novel coronavirus in just 20 minutes will soon be available in the UAE, according to The National.
Dr. Stefan Weber, director of the National Influenza Center in Abu Dhabi, told the English publication that quick testing would boost efficiency and detection rates. This, in turn, would reduce the rate at which undetected spreading of the virus takes place.
The testing equipment is expected to arrive in the UAE in the coming weeks. Currently, a lab at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, managed by Cleveland Clinic, tests up to 1,000 samples a day from around the emirates.
In the UAE, there has been a reported 333 cases of COVID-19, one of the lowest rates in the Arab region. The Gulf nation was actually the first in the region to report coronavirus but has managed to contain it better than others, it seems.
As of March 16, the UAE had carried out more than 125,000 tests for coronavirus, health officials revealed. The Ministry of Health and Prevention had also said its testing coverage was "the highest in the world".
The new machines are considered to be more efficient than what is currently available and are much more space-friendly. "What used to take up three rooms can now be analyzed in a single chamber," Dr Weber said.
The UAE recently imposed overnight curfews to allow for nationwide disinfection to combat the coronavirus. On Wednesday, Dubai directed the private sector to implement remote working for most staff, exempting some industries from the decision. A day later, the UAE government ordered almost all public and private sector to limit the number of staff in offices to 30 percent.
Authorities have advised people to avoid parties and weddings to limit the spread of the virus. The city of Dubai has suspended theme parks, cinemas, night clubs, and concerts. To make matters easier for people in the country, the UAE enlisted a "virtual doctor" to help diagnose potential cases of the novel coronavirus earlier this month. Dubbed the COVID-19 Virtual Doctor, the project was launched by the country's Ministry of Health and Prevention.
Authorities in the country have installed thermal cameras at the entrances of malls and supermarkets in several emirates across the nation. The purpose of those cameras is to identify individuals with a high fever and prevent them from entering the premises. Any detection of high temperature will result in the isolation of the suspected patient in a specialized room.
In addition to that, the country has been really trying to minimize commutes to clinics for consultations regarding the virus. The Dubai Health Authority has unrolled an application that allows citizens to communicate for free with healthcare professionals.
Schools have closed as well but that hasn't affected the UAE as much as other Arab countries. This is because many institutions in the country have already been implementing e-learning systems prior to the pandemic. The UAE is one of the only regional nations that has already been moving towards building a digital infrastructure that can facilitate e-classrooms. The country continuously launches initiatives aimed at bolstering this kind of distance learning process. These include "Madrasa," an e-learning platform offered in Arabic.