Coronavirus: UAE's mass testing and vaccination campaign leading to 'gradual decrease' in infections

A senior health official said on Tuesday that more than 60 per cent of the elderly population had received at least one dose of a vaccine

Health authorities said a mass testing and vaccination drive had led to a "gradual decrease" in Covid-19 infection rates.

But a senior official also highlighted the dangers of delaying seeking treatment.

The UAE has administered more than six million doses of vaccine to the public since December and carried out 31 million tests since the pandemic began, last March.

Case figures have remained below 3,000 for the past three days, having hovered above 3,000 for much of the year.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the health sector, said on Tuesday that more than 3.6 million people had received at least one shot of a vaccine.

More than 61 per cent of people aged 60 and over had received at least one dose.

The community had played a role in reducing the country's number of daily infections by obeying safety measures, Dr Al Hosani said.

But she called on those who suffer symptoms of the virus – especially respiratory problems – to immediately seek medical help to protect themselves, as well as more vulnerable members of society, such as the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

"Today we are witnessing a gradual decrease in the number of infections and this is a positive indicator," Dr Al Hosani said.

"The UAE ranks among the leading countries for Covid-19 tests, relative to its population, and the infection rate from those tests is among the lowest regionally and globally."

She said it was vital that people do not neglect any symptoms of the virus and instead seek immediate assistance.

Dr Al Hosani stressed that those who ignore potential infection risk suffering more serious complications and could also put other members of the public at risk.

Early treatment could save lives and help to reduce intensive care admissions, she added.

"We call on all people to go to the nearest health centre if they display symptoms and provide health authorities with information on contacts to protect them and others – especially people most at risk of developing symptoms and complications of the disease.

"There are some people who neglect respiratory symptoms and do not go for an examination until their health deteriorates and they develop acute respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath," Dr Al Hosani said

"Infection with minor symptoms such as a fever, cold or coughing, especially among the elderly and those with chronic diseases, is one of the clear indications that require seeing a specialist doctor."

She renewed a call to all members of the public to follow safety measures, including wearing face masks, maintaining a two-metre distance from others and washing hands thoroughly.