Top Emirati doctor: stay away from big play groups and wear a mask if a handyman visits your home

Dr Omar Al Hammadi urges all to be cautious at home and avoid crowds and enclosed areas

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A top coronavirus doctor has three pieces of advice for UAE residents: avoid enclosed spaces; wear a mask if someone enters your home; and keep your children away from big play groups.

Dr Al Hammadi made his comments in a video message recorded for an Arabic newspaper.

The internal medicine consultant, who frequently appears in television broadcasts, said enclosed spaces and people who travel widely for work both posed a major transmission risk.

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Everyone knows the virus spreads in crowded areas, places where there is no social distancing and in closed areas with no ventilation

“It has become repetitive and mundane to talk about transmission methods, especially after a year,” he said.

“Everyone knows the virus spreads in crowded areas, places where there is no social distancing and in closed areas with no ventilation, even with a few people.”

But the virus can be transmitted during an essential home-repair visit.

“Let’s assume you need a faulty appliance fixed," Dr Al Hammadi said.

"Unfortunately, [sometimes] when the handyman enters the house, one of the parties eases on the required precautionary measures.

Dr Omar Al Hammadi, internal medicine specialist in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Dr Omar Al Hammadi

“Sometimes, one will not have a mask or fail to maintain social distancing. This is how the virus is transmitted.”

Officials previously urged residents to put a mask on to answer the door or accept food from a delivery driver, each of whom could visit hundreds of homes each week.

He also urged people to be cautious in enclosed spaces such as lifts, which tend to have capacity restricted to two or three people maximum.

“I hope this information helps to reduce the numbers of daily cases during these difficult times.”

He said that in schools, teachers and wardens carefully separate the pupils, but in parks and gardens parents often forget that children can spread the virus.

Children over the age of six are required to wear a mask in all public places, although they can slip or be pulled off.

Most children who become infected with Covid-19 virus have no symptoms, or show only mild symptoms such as low-grade fever, fatigue and a cough.

Early research suggested that children were not one of the major carriers of the virus – but more recent studies raise concerns.

"Children in schools are supervised and protective measures are followed in the classroom," Dr Al Hammadi said.

"We need to continue following these measures at all times.

"We need to supervise our children to keep our families and communities safe."

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