Coronavirus: Inside the new field hospital at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre

Patients with mild and moderate symptoms will receive treatment, allowing hospitals to focus on serious cases

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A new 1,000-bed field hospital at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre will ease the pressure on medical services and help to flatten rising coronavirus cases.

A dedicated workforce has been pressed into action to swiftly transform the sprawling 31,000 metre space Adnec into a facility staffed by 150 medics.

Hospital wards had been set up by Wednesday, with curtained-off individual cubicles constructed and beds moved in, ahead of the first patients being admitted.

The new facility has been built by Abu Dhabi's public hospital operator Seha on the orders of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, along with another field hospital in Mohamed bin Zayed City.

We are climbing up the curve and no one know when we will level off - but we are very well prepared

Dr Anwar Sallam, chief medical officer at Seha, said the new field hospitals would serve patients who are stable or suffer from mild symptoms, allowing Abu Dhabi's main hospitals to focus on more critical cases.

“The main purpose of increasing our capacity is to admit the stable and mild cases to these places and reserve the main hospitals to care for the acute and critical cases,” he said.

“We are like any other place in the world, 80 per cent of the cases will be mild and 20 per cent will need advanced medical care at a hospital level so we are putting this into consideration.”

“Ideally we need to admit all the cases to ensure that they are going to receive the treatment, especially as we know that many do not have the ideal circumstances to isolate themselves.

"To isolate you need your own room and bathroom and many do not have this luxury. It is a good gesture from the government to make this available so people can receive their medication, be looked after, and be under the care of professionals at the early stages of the disease.

A look inside a massive field hospital in Abu Dhabi

A look inside a massive field hospital in Abu Dhabi

"Once they complete the treatment then we repeat their testing and they are tested twice and if it is negative in between 24 to 48 hours then they are discharged.”

A triage system will determine who goes to the field hospitals and who will be admitted to one of the main hospitals in the UAE. However all elderly and pediatric patients will go to the emirate's main hospital .

All the medical staff at the field hospitals will be drafted in from Seha facilities.

“We are actually climbing up the curve and no one know when we will level off - but we are very well prepared and can take care of complicated cases in hospitals,” said Dr Sallam.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Office, visited the facilities at the National Exhibition Centre and in Mohamed bin Zayed City.

Sheikh Khalid also inspected plans for a new Dubai facility, which will be the emirate's second field hospital.

The 29,000 sq metre centre in Dubai Parks and Resorts, will open by the end of the month. It will have room for 1,200 patients and be staffed by 200 medics.

The centre in Mohamed bin Zayed City, opposite the industrial area of Mussaffah where tens of thousands of workers are being screened for free, will be completed in the first week of May.

That hospital will be able to admit 1,200 coronavirus patients and be staffed by 200 medics.

Earlier this month, Adnec agreed to waive costs for the running of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital constructed at ExCeL London, which it owns.


"The health and wellbeing of the people of the UAE is our shared responsibility, and we are prepared to play our part," said Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Adnec's chief executive.

"We are honored to partner with Seha and the Department of Health Abu Dhabi to launch the field hospitals as an effective addition to the country’s initiatives to safeguard our community, and thank all those involved in the nation’s response to Covid-19."