Coronavirus: UAE ranks among top countries in tackling the pandemic

Aggressive testing, tracing of carriers, and now an extensive vaccination programme has helped the government deal with the outbreak

The UAE has ranked first on a number of global indices for its efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Its emergency plan was immediately put into action when the first case was confirmed on January 29 last year.

Timely preparation, aggressive testing, tracing of carriers and now an extensive vaccination programme have helped the government deal with the outbreak in an organised way.

The country’s strategy has helped to keep the UAE’s mortality rate among the lowest in the world.

Distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine

The UAE has embarked on a major vaccination drive in recent weeks as it steps up its fight to overcome the pandemic.

The country ranked first globally in the distribution of daily doses of Covid-19 vaccines between January 12 and 18, 2021. This equates to a distribution rate of 1.16 doses for every 100 persons.

It also ranked fifth globally in terms of vaccine availability.

The Sinopharm vaccine was introduced across the Emirates on December 9, and the Pfizer-BioNTech shot approved for limited use in Dubai two weeks later. Russia’s Sputnik vaccine has since been approved for emergency use.

The phased introduction gave priority to key groups such as people aged over 60 and frontline workers.

Dedicated vaccine centres were set up across the country in support of the nationwide push.

Number of tests

The UAE was the first country in the world where the number of coronavirus tests surpassed the population.

By October 6, 2020, the UAE had conducted 10 million tests.

Close to 24 million tests have been conducted in the country to date as part of a mass screening strategy aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

Detection of cases

In July 2020, the UAE became the first country to use sniffer dogs to identify infected people.

K9 sniffer dogs were stationed at airports across the country to help detect traces of the coronavirus from passenger samples.

“An area was dedicated to detect Covid-19 using K9 police dogs at Dubai International Airport,” Maj Salah Al Mazrooei from Dubai Police said on July 31, 2020.

“Samples were taken in collaboration with partners from Dubai Health Authority and results are out in less than one minute.”

Handling of the pandemic

The UAE ranked first in the Middle East in the list of countries that best addressed the coronavirus crisis, according to the Global Soft Power Index published by Brand Finance.

Public satisfaction

The public in the UAE was extremely satisfied with the government’s pandemic strategy. The Toluna Consumer Insights survey published in June 2020 ranked the Emirates first in the Middle East and third globally when it came to public opinion.

Drive-through tests

The UAE was the first country in the Middle East and fifth in the world to offer drive-through coronavirus screening. The tests take less than five minutes.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the UAE has adopted effective procedures to limit the spread of the virus.

The country launched the National Sterilisation Programme during the early months of the pandemic, started remote learning for pupils and home working for adults to keep the public safe.

The UAE also set up the largest coronavirus lab outside China.

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