UAE public urged to take regular PCR tests before meeting friends and family

Eligible residents also advised to receive a booster shot

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Authorities in the UAE are urging citizens and residents to take regular PCR tests amid rising Covid-19 cases.

Dr Noura Al Ghaithi, a government health spokeswoman, told the weekly Covid-19 briefing that regular testing has played an important role in limiting the spread of the disease.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the regular PCR check-ups have been proven as a key method for early detection of infections, identify those who came in contact with cases and to control the cases,” she said.

“Therefore, we advise everyone to conduct a PCR test, especially before family visits or gatherings, and when meeting the elderly and those with chronic diseases.”

Dr Al Ghaithi said people should also avoid shaking hands and hugging and continue to adhere to safety rules, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distance.

The UAE recorded 2,708 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the overall tally of infections to 774,897.

A total of 469,028 PCR tests were carried out in the latest 24-hour reporting period. More than 113 million tests have been conducted since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, eligible residents have also been urged to take a booster shot six months after receiving the second dose of a Pfizer, Sinopharm or Sputnik vaccine.

“Studies have proven that vaccines and booster shots significantly contribute to minimising the risks of the disease and its complications and fatalities. It also plays a vital role in preventing variants,” Dr Al Ghaithi said.

“We urge individuals who are eligible, senior citizens and people suffering from chronic diseases in particular, to take the booster shots for their own safety, given that this would be in support of the national efforts to combat the crises and variants.”

Last week, a new vaccine from Chinese manufacturer Sinopharm-CNBG was approved for emergency use in the UAE. The new “recombinant protein-based vaccine” will be used as a booster for those who had previously received two doses of the inactive Sinopharm vaccine.

For those who have taken different types of vaccinations, the spokeswoman said they can go to the nearest vaccination centre to determine the type of booster shot they need.

Meanwhile, all Abu Dhabi government employees must be vaccinated and have received a coronavirus booster shot to enter the workplace from January 10.

The requirement is in addition to the free PCR test public sector workers must take every seven days. Exemptions remain for those who cannot have the vaccine for medical reasons.

Updated: January 10, 2022, 9:17 AM