The UAE government has ramped up even further its agile response against the coronavirus disease by making COVID-19 tests more accessible to the public. Current statistics shows that an average of 100,000 tests are being conducted across the entire emirates daily, which proves that complacency is not in its vocabulary.
Between September 30 and October 6 alone, the country has achieved over 700,000 tests, an 8% increase in the number of tests conducted in the UAE compared to the previous week. The following week, October 7 to 13, nearly 800,000 COVID-19 tests have been carried out.
Dr. Omar Abdulrahman Al Hammadi, Official Spokesman of the UAE Government, earlier announced a milestone on the UAE’s comprehensive testing after it has covered more than the country’s entire population.
“We have conducted over 10 million tests since the beginning of the pandemic, becoming the first country in the world in terms of the number of tests per capita conducted for countries with a population exceeding one million,” said Dr. Al Hammadi.
The country has provided for its citizens two methods to get tested: the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or the swab test that now provides results within 24-48 hours, as well as the Diffractive Phase Interferometry or laser tests, where residents can get results in minutes.
Dubai, for instance, has already approved a measure to restructure the pricing of COVID-19 swab tests from AED370 to only AED150 across government-led hospitals and recently, at malls including the Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Mirdif and City Centre Deira. Meanwhile, COVID-19 swab tests in Abu Dhabi now only cost AED 180 for asymptomatic individuals, marking a second drop on the PCR test that used to cost AED 370.
Laser tests have maintained an affordable cost of AED 50 which is commonly used for residents who intend to enter Abu Dhabi as the capital requires everyone to present a negative coronavirus test before they are allowed entry. The UAE has even placed a laser testing center near the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border at Ghantoot to facilitate these laser tests.
Preventive measures still required
While recent reports of new cases of COVID-19 has averaged 1,000 cases daily, numbers of those who have recovered from the disease have also increased by 15% between October 7-13 compared to September 30 to October 6 providing a gradual downward trend on the country’s number of active cases.
However, officials continue to remind the public to follow the country’s preventive measures and health guidelines, citing that the recent increase in number of cases have proven that complacency among residents is linked to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Saif Al Dhaheri, official spokesperson of the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, warned that those who will be caught violating these rules will face fines. He also stressed that the highest during late September were detected in Dubai, followed by Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Um al-Quwain and finally Ras Al Khaimah—in that order.
“The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority and its partners have developed and issued a set of guidelines to combat COVID-19 as various sectors return to work. We emphasize that no one is above the law, and that the law will be applied firmly to everyone,” said Dr. Al Dhaheri, who revealed that mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines remain as the top violations across the UAE.
He has affirmed that the UAE government is keen to safely normalize activities across various sectors in the country. However, all members of the community must actively participate by showing their full adherence to the rules.