Dubai - Coronavirus in UAE: Your questions answered

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - A Q&A on what you need to know about the coronavirus.

The UAE on Wednesday confirmed the first cases in the Mideast of the new Chinese virus that causes flu-like symptoms, saying doctors now were treating a family that had just come from a city at the epicenter of the outbreak.

Officials are taking "all the necessary precautions in accordance with the scientific recommendations, conditions and standards approved by the World Health Organization," the ministry said. "The general health condition is not a cause for concern."

The new type of coronavirus first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December. Its symptoms, including cough and fever and in severe cases pneumonia, are similar to many other illnesses.

The viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 6,000 people in the mainland and more than a dozen other countries.

Al Khaleej Today has created a Q&A for what people need to know about the coronavirus.

Q. Is there a confirmed case of the Chinese coronavirus in the UAE?

A: Yes, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, has announced the first case of new coronavirus in the UAE in members of a family arriving from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Q. What is the status of these patients?

A: In a statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry said that "the health condition of those infected are stable and they are currently under medical observation." The general health condition is not a cause for concern, it emphasised.

Q. Is this a reason for concern? Do I need to need to worry/ panic?

A: The ministry stressed that the epidemiological investigation centres in the country are working around the clock to early report any cases of the virus, noting that the health system in the country "works very efficiently and that the ministry is closely following the situation in a way that guarantees the health and safety of everyone."

Q. Are schools and other public spaces going to be shut down?

A: No, as of right now, schools and public areas continue to function as normal. MoHAP confirmed that, in coordination with health authorities and the concerned authorities in the country, it has taken "all the necessary precautions in accordance with the scientific recommendations, conditions and standards approved by the World Health Organisation."

Q. Are passengers being screened at UAE Airports?

Yes. Passengers arriving at International will continue to be thermally screened, Dubai Airports told Al Khaleej Today. Dubai Airport began screening passengers on January 23, and will continue to do so.

Meanwhile, An Abu Dhabi Airports spokesperson also provided an official statement to Al Khaleej Today, "In response to containing the Coronavirus and taking the required measures to protect the UAE, Abu Dhabi Airports will screen all passengers arriving from China."

"These precautionary measures are in line with the directives of the UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The safety and security of our passengers, employees and airport-based staff is our top priority."

Q.Are there treatments for this disease?

A: "Currently there is no specific treatment available for the disease, but supportive therapy and prophylactic treatment may be initiated to prevent complications from respiratory distress," said Dr Salvin George - Specialist Physician (Internal Medicine), Medcare Hospital Al Safa.

He added, "Consult your nearest hospital where they will assess your vital signs and determine the severity of the illness. You may be isolated if there is a strong suspicion of the coronavirus infection. Blood and body fluid samples will be obtained for testing."

Q. What safety precautions must you take while travelling to countries with confirmed cases of the virus?

A: Travellers to Wuhan or any infected area should:

· Avoid contact with sick people.

· Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).

· Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

· Older travellers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to Wuhan with their healthcare provider.

Q.What safety precautions must you take while dealing with a patient suffering from the disease?

A: The patients should be asked to wear a surgical mask as soon as they are identified and be evaluated in a private room with the door closed, ideally, an airborne infection isolation room if available.

Healthcare personnel entering the room should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and use eye protection (e.g., goggles or a face shield). Immediately notify your healthcare facility's infection control personnel and the local health department.

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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