Coronavirus: highest Covid-19 cases to date as UAE records 3,362 infections

Recent rise in cases thought to be because of increased travel over the winter break

Another 3,362 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the UAE on Wednesday – exceeding the highest daily infection record set the day before.

The cases were detected after a further 134,768 tests were conducted across the country.

They raised the total number of infections to 239,587. Of these, 213,149 people have recovered after 2,588 more patients were declared free of the virus.

Health authorities announced that six patients died of complications related to the virus, taking the death toll to 723.

The number of active cases passed 25,000 for the first time since the outbreak with 25,715 people currently testing positive for Covid-19 across the Emirates.

In early November, active cases dropped to fewer than 2,000. The recent rise in cases is thought to be the result of increased travel over the winter break.

A nationwide vaccination campaign began in December with 1,364,580 doses administered since, placing the UAE second worldwide after Israel for immunisations.

At least 118,928 doses were administered over the past 24 hours, raising the rate of vaccination to 14.10 doses per 100 people.

As of Tuesday, 250,000 people had been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the UAE after receiving both doses.

The goal is to immunise 50 per cent of the country's population by the end of the first quarter.

The Crown Prince of Fujairah, Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi, was the latest UAE leader to receive his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday. He thanked medical staff for their professionalism and dedication to protecting public health, state news agency Wam reported.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, each encouraged members of the public to get vaccinated.

“My message to everyone is to hasten to be vaccinated to protect our health, our economy and our achievements,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

Their message was emphasised on Wednesday by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, who said participation in the nationwide vaccine drive would protect Emiratis and residents.

The minister, who is also head of the Covid-19 Crisis Recovery Management and Governance Committee, said widespread immunisation would help to accelerate the UAE's recovery from the effects of Covid-19 on the economy.

Vaccine demand has increased recently, with some clinics that offer inoculations saying they now have weeks-long waiting lists.

Several private medical centres told The National they are fully booked until March.

Call centres are receiving hundreds of enquiries each day and most medical facilities are referring calls to an online link for registration.

The Sinopharm vaccine is available at all private and government health clinics across the UAE, while the Pfizer-BioNTech shot can be administered at seven clinics in Dubai.