Coronavirus: UAE ranks sixth on global scale of Covid-19 testing

Rise in number of completed tests gives authorities best chance of containing the virus

Unprecedented levels of health testing are underway in the UAE, and while that will inevitably confirm more cases of Covid-19, it will also enable health authorities to contain the virus.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Health and Prevention announced it had completed more than 220,000 laboratory tests for coronavirus.

The latest analysis of global figures had already placed the country sixth on an international league table of population testing, seen as the gold-standard in limiting contagion.

As of March 20, only China, South Korea, Italy, Germany and Russia had tested more than the UAE’s figure of 125,000 completed nasal swabs.

Just nine days later and the number of swabs tests in the community had spiked by 76 per cent, or an extra 95,000 people, to show how testing capacity across the country has been ramped up.

Testing by country
Testing by country

It makes the UAE's testing coverage at more than 22,900 samples per million people; the second highest test density in the world.

Testing is set to continue at an even greater pace as more Department of Health drive-through centres open across the emirates.

The first cars were accepted at the Abu Dhabi hub on Saturday.

Further sites in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Al Ain and Al Dhafra will offer quick tests with the latest medical technology in days.

Each site will have the capacity to test around 600 people a day.

As a result, confirmed cases of coronavirus are also expected to soar - but that means known infected patients can be placed into quarantine and get the required treatment to help limit further spread of the virus.

That in turn, should accelerate the country’s ability to return to some resemblance of normality, although restrictions are likely to be in place for some time.

Global data on how many tests are being done from nation-to-nation can be difficult to collate.

With no centralised World Health Organisation data on Covid-19 testing and most countries not providing official reports on completed sampling, an accurate reflection of the actual numbers tested is unclear.

The WHO does however publish a daily situation report that is updated three times a day.

According to the University of Oxford, vital statistics on those infected, such as demographics, travel dates and keys dates for each patient such as onset of symptoms and quarantine periods are also helping scientists better understand the virus.

Individual data on a global scale has not been openly available in previous disease outbreaks.

Updated: April 6, 2020 03:05 AM

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