The UAE’s numbers of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) breached four digits in a single day at 1,007 last September 12, calling for a reality check among citizens and residents to assess if they are doing their bit to defeat the invisible enemy.
Dr. Farida Al Hosani, the official spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, said that the steepest single-day spike is a direct effect of negligence and complacency. “We passed more than 900 cases per day, an almost five-fold increase from the number of cases a month ago,” said Dr. Al Hosani.
Of the total number of confirmed cases to date, 62% were males while 38% were females, showing that females are likely to be more mindful of practicing precautionary measures, compared to males.
The official spokesperson for the UAE’s health sector also revealed that returning residents comprise a percentage of the new cases since the UAE allowed for their return. “Twelve percent of cases during the past two weeks belong to individual citizens and residents coming from outside the country, [This is] despite their negative results in the country of departure according to the conditions and [due to] their lack of commitment to 14- day quarantine procedure,” said Dr. Al Hosani.
Among the most violated rules are unabated public gatherings, not following the required social distancing measure, and not wearing of face masks.
“One of the reasons for the increase in the number of daily cases is linked to individual commitment, and this includes the negligence of some individuals in preventive measures such as physical spacing and wearing masks, and the continued visits and gatherings in homes or restaurants,” said Dr. Al Hosani.
She also called out establishments who, after being allowed to operate, often let their guards down in terms of implementing the COVID-19 measures set by the UAE authorities.
“The lack of commitment of some shopping centers, shops and public facilities to precautionary measures such as the application of capacity, physical distancing and mandatory wearing of masks contributed to the recent increase in the number of cases,” explained Dr. Al Hosani.
It’s also a moral obligation of people to isolate themselves if they already suspect they have COVID-10. However, in may instances, some individuals act as though they won’t infect anyone. Instead of staying away from public places, they step out and mingle with their family and friends.
“We have observed that some individuals ignore the appearance of the disease symptoms on them and deliberately continue to mix with others and not adhere to prevention,” said Dr. Al Hosani.
Schools which have reopened recently also contributed to the rising number of cases. “The negligence of several private educational institutions in the country, and their failure to apply isolation measures and suspend studies for a period of 14 days after discovering cases in them, despite the controls and procedures set by the Ministry of Education for all educational institutions,” said Dr. Al Hosani.
The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, (NCEMA) has begun coordinating with local emergency and crisis committees across the emirates to tighten controls.
The UAE has implemented an updated list on violations of the COVID-19 preventive measures. Those who violate preventive measures will be held accountable, whether they are individuals who do not wear masks, hold gatherings or break home quarantine rules, or businesses including shops, commercial centers and restaurants that do not comply with temperature checks and reduced capacity rules.
Dr. Al Hosani urges all residents who have been recently in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient to follow the country’s approved quarantine protocol, stating that symptoms could show only after two weeks.
“They should not rely on a negative test result from a period after the discovery of contact with an infected person as an excuse to return to normal life as the incubation period of the virus may last up to 14 days,” said Dr. Al Hosani.
The UAE government earlier pledged that the entire country must be in this battle against COVID-19 together. Hence, it is expected of every member of society will play their part in safeguarding the wellbeing of others as much as their own.