Covid-19 infections rise among Dubai's Emiratis during Ramadan

Humaid Al Qatami, director general of Dubai Health Authority, said families flouted safety measures in holy month

The number of Covid-19 infections among Emiratis in Dubai increased in the first two weeks of Ramadan because families did not adhere to safety measures, a senior health official said.

Humaid Al Qatami, director general of Dubai Health Authority, warned a similar trend could emerge if families continued to flout rules over the Eid holidays.

“We have observed an increase in the number of cases among Emiratis in the past two weeks, particularly since the beginning of Ramadan," Mr Al Qatami said.

“Eid Al Fitr is expected soon and everyone should be careful so that we do not have to revise the easing of movement restrictions.”

He said it was crucial that people adhered to social distancing and precautionary measures to avoid a surge in cases.

During a Ramadan majlis panel discussion entitled "Corona: Between Today and Tomorrow", hosted by Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan, deputy chief of police in Dubai, Mr Al Qatami said 430,000 Covid-19 tests have been carried out in the emirate since the outbreak.

Eid Al Fitr is expected soon and everyone should be careful so that we do not have to revise movement restrictions

He said most positive cases were mild and patients did not require a stay in hospital.

“Critical cases that require intensive care and ventilators are very minimal, and the UAE has all the facilities and health equipment to provide high-quality care,” Mr Al Qatami said.

He said movement restrictions were easing despite the daily increases in Covid-19 cases because those rises were a result of the widespread testing approach in the UAE.

“But all procedures taken in regards to the situation are revised and evaluated periodically to determine whether or not to continue with the procedures taken or come up with new ones,” Mr Al Qatami said.

He said more healthcare workers were expected to be given the 10-year golden residency visa in appreciation for their work to protect the public.

Last week, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, granted the long-term visa to 212 doctors working with coronavirus patients.

Dr Amin Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, said many countries relied on the Emirates to provide them with medical supplies.

“The UAE is home to 17 factories producing 1,675 pharmaceutical products," Dr Al Amiri said.

"Of these, 14 are biological drugs made by few countries in the world.

“Forty-one countries from around the world depend on us to provide them with supplies.”

Dr Al Amiri said authorities were sure to secure the UAE’s needs before providing other countries with medical supplies.