Coronavirus: success of the UAE in tackling the pandemic is partly dependent on other countries, say health chiefs


Covid-19 precautions across the UAE remain strict in order to protect those living here and people coming from abroad, a health chief said.

Abdullah Al Hamed, chairman of Department of Health Abu Dhabi, said the UAE uses data to gauge when to tighten or relax restrictions.

He said the government monitors 30 separate numbers, including the capacity of hospitals, on a daily basis when making its decisions.

“We go by facts, by numbers, the death toll, the capacity in hospitals,” Mr Al Hamed said.

We are still taking these measures because we really want to make sure everyone is safe

Abdullah Al Hamed, Department of Health Abu Dhabi

“All of these things have been decided by these numbers.

“We are still taking these measures, even harsher than they should be, because we really want to make sure everyone is safe, whether someone is coming from outside the UAE or people who are living in the UAE.”

Mr Al Hamed spoke at a virtual conference organised by the Hope Consortium, an Abu Dhabi-based logistics group set up to deliver vaccines across the globe.

It also heard from Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general, Mark Suzman, chief executive of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others.

Mr Suzman gave recognition to the UAE’s approach in tackling the pandemic.

“The UAE has continued to play its part,” he said.

“You rightly focused on protecting your own people from the virus, while at the same time seeking ways to help protect people in other countries.

“Because you understand that ending the pandemic means ending the disease everywhere.”

The UAE has provided invaluable assistance to 70 countries during the pandemic, he said.

“The message from our leadership is to work with other countries, to help them out, because by us helping them, they are also helping us indirectly to stop the spread of this virus,” Mr Al Hamed said.

He said the foreign media coverage of tourists returning from Dubai in the winter was unfair.

Many of the countries they returned to were themselves completely closed to visitors and had high infections and deaths rates, he said.

The UAE’s numbers are much lower, he said.

“A lot of media talked about people coming [back] from Dubai to their countries, infected,” he said.

“Well, you know, the thing doesn’t match. Their countries are closed. They have high deaths and infections. Our numbers are way, way, much lower.

“It is considered one of the lowest in the world.”

Updated: March 29, 2021 03:55 PM