All elective and non-urgent surgical procedures have been cancelled in Dubai as part of plans to free up resources for possible coronavirus cases.
The Dubai Health Authority said government and private hospitals, and day surgery centres, would postpone operations until at least the end of March.
The restrictions will come into force from Wednesday, March 18, in line with ongoing efforts to safeguard public health and manage cases of Covid-19.
Authorities said the restrictions could be extended if required.
“The purpose of this action is to protect the citizens and residents of the Emirate of Dubai by ensuring adequate resources such as the availability of the hospital beds and qualified healthcare professionals to provide appropriate care,” a statement from the DHA said.
“In line with this instruction, Dubai Health Insurance Corporation at DHA shall suspend health insurance for elective non-urgent surgeries.”
The announcement follows similar protocols enacted internationally to help prepare for the coronavirus pandemic.
Medical experts hope the move will free up capacity to help staff deal with patients requiring urgent attention.
In the UK, millions of National Health Service patients will face delays to their care as hospitals also cancelled non-urgent operations, including some surgery for people with heart and lung conditions.
More common procedures such as hernia repairs, knee and hips replacements and cataract removals are expected to be particularly effected.