Coronavirus: UAE to open seven field hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients

'A number' have already opened with more planned to increase hospital capacity

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The UAE aims to open seven field hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients, authorities said on Tuesday.

During the country's regular briefing, Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE health sector, said "a number" of field hospitals had already been opened with a total of seven planned to increase hospital capacity.

Dr Al Hosani credited the drop in daily case numbers over the past two weeks to the safety precautions put in place across the country and their enforcement.

"These are good indicators that show an improvement in the UAE's fight against Covid-19. We hope cases will continue to go down."

Once we achieve herd immunity ... we will have begun to curb the spread of the virus

She said the nationwide vaccination drive also contributed to a curb in cases with almost 5.7m doses administered to date, which is the equivalent to 57.31 doses per 100 people. To date, 3.48m residents have been administered the vaccine, which is 44.89 per cent of the target. At least 57 per cent of the country's population over 60 years old has received a dose of the vaccine.

The aim, she said, was to reach herd immunity to protect people who are not naturally immune or who are unable to take the vaccine.

"Herd immunity is considered one of the stages of indirect protection from communicable diseases and requires a large amount of the community to be immunised.

"Once we achieve herd immunity ... we will have begun to curb the spread of the virus."

She assured the public that the vaccines available in the country were completely safe for use for everyone – including the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.

"We call on all to get vaccinated because it is the safest way to recovery," she said.

A man and a woman walk past a huge health ministry COVID-19 vaccines announcement outside a medical centre in Dubai on February 16, 2021, as the Gulf emirates goes ahead its vaccination effort. The UAE, home to a population of around 10 million, has administered some 4.6 million doses of vaccine, making it the second-fastest per capita delivery in the world, after Israel. / AFP / Karim SAHIB
The UAE has conducted one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the world. AFP

Ismail Al Blooshi, spokesman of the civil aviation authority, also addressed the public on Tuesday.

He said the many protocols put in place since the outbreak allowed for the gradual operation of the aviation sector while still ensuring the safety of passengers.

"From repatriation flights to cargo shipments, the UAE has worked hand in hand with the international community to combat this pandemic," he said.

PCR testing before flights and on arrival are required across the country.

Since the outbreak, more than 2.7m tests have been conducted on passengers arriving to the UAE with just 0.7 per cent testing positive.

Mr Al Blooshi said the national carriers had transported more than 38m passengers to 140 destinations throughout the pandemic.

More than 70 per cent of front-line aviation staff have been vaccinated to date as part of increased safety measures.

He said the teams were continually assessing risks to determine the countries people could travel to and from safely.

"This approach has allowed us to reopen our airlines and flights since the aviation sector is vital to our society and economy," he said.

On Tuesday, the UAE reported its lowest daily death toll for more than a month as the number of active cases fell below 8,000 for the first time since November.

A further 3,005 infections were confirmed, bringing the total to 375,535.

An additional 3,515 patients were given the all-clear, as the recovery tally climbed to 366,567.

Five people died, raising the number of fatalities across the Emirates to 1,145.

It was the smallest rise in the number of deaths of Covid-19 patients since January 21, when four people died.

The number of active cases dropped to 7,823 after recoveries exceeded new infections for the 13th day running.

It is the lowest tally of current infections since 7,624 were reported on November 17.

The latest cases were detected as a result of 175,284 more tests.

More than 29.6 million tests have been conducted since the outbreak began.