UAE unveils tool to predict spread of Covid-19 at major events

' Expo 2020 model' shows how mapping out potential scenarios can keep people safer

Powered by automated translation

UAE officials announced on Wednesday that a pioneering modelling tool has been created to stop the spread of Covid-19 at public events and gatherings.

Known as 'the Expo 2020 model', it was unveiled at the world fair by Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, in the presence of partners involved in the project, including Expo 2020, the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, and Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

The tool was developed by researchers at Khalifa University to make visitors' experiences at Expo safer, after it is predicted that more than 25 million people will pass through the gates over the next six months.

The health and safety of all visitors, participants and staff is Expo's number one priority
Reem Al Hashimy, director general, Expo 2020 Dubai

It works by combing several key factors, such as the number of visitors from countries around the world and other parameters, including rates of transmission and risk of infection.

The programme has been in development for the best part of two years.

Results are presented through an interactive dashboard that allows you to change parameters and see the real-time effect of the pandemic.

The modelling tool focuses mainly on giving an accurate comparison between scenarios so authorities have the right information required to decide which action to take. The secondary focus is on predicting the numbers of new cases.

“The health and safety of all visitors, participants and staff is Expo's number one priority," said Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation and director general of Expo 2020 Dubai.

"The pandemic has put this commitment even more sharply into focus, and we have worked tirelessly across the organisation to ensure we follow the latest guidance and collaborate closely with local and international authorities, including the UAE's world-class health authorities."

The researchers who developed the tool are Dr Jorge Rodriguez, associate professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Dr Mauricio Patton, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Dr Juan Acuna, professor and head of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Khalifa University.

“We are incredibly proud to have forged this important partnership with Expo 2020 and Khalifa University," said Abdullah bin Mohamed Al Hamed, chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi.

"Abu Dhabi has developed a distinguished model for the pandemic response and recovery.

"Moreover, the Emirate has been lauded for its readiness and response efforts [by] several of the world's cities.”

Coronavirus precautions in effect in Abu Dhabi - in pictures

Updated: October 21, 2021, 6:23 AM