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Mohamed Nass - Dubai - The United Arab Emirates announced the completion of the National Disinfection Programme, effective Wednesday.
This came at the UAE government’s regular media briefing wherein Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, official spokesperson of the UAE Government, Dr Saif Dhaheri, the Spokesperson of the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), and Dr. Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE health sector, provided an update on COVID-19 related developments and the measures taken to reduce its impact.
Addressing the briefing, Al Shamsi commented that more than 44,291additional Covid-19 tests were conducted among UAE citizens and residents, resulting in the detection of 450 new cases and taking the total number of infections in the country to 46,133.
She noted an additional 702 individuals have fully recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to more than 34,405, adding that a total of 11,421 individuals are still being treated, most of whom are in stable condition.
She also announced the death of two individuals as a result of Covid19 complications, taking the total number of fatalities in the country to 307.
Dr. Al Shamsi expressed her sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wished current Covid19 patients a speedy and full recovery.
Al Shamsi attributed the progress of the COVID-19 countermeasures to the collaborative efforts of various state departments and the compliance of UAE citizens and residents." It is the responsibility of all of us to work together to curb the spread of Covid-19 virus."
Addressing the briefing, Al Hosani said the UAE health sector has started phase III of the clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, as part of a global collaborative efforts to curb the virus.
She attributed the achievement to the integrated scientific research system followed in the country's medical sector, which she said is operating according to three priorities.
"Medical research in the UAE focuses on three pillars: studies of pandemics, diagnostic studies and clinical trials, which include developing vacancies."
Al Hosani added that the participation in the First Phase III Clinical Trial of Inactivated COVID-19 Vaccine comes in through cooperation between the Chinese Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Group 42 (G42). G42 will lead the clinical trial operations in the UAE.
"Clinical trials are led by the Department of Health to accelerate the process of developing an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine. We hope to make it available by end of 2020 or earlier 2021."
The UAE, she continued, welcomes all contributions by countries of the world, as well as close partnerships between governments and private sectors to create new initiatives and opportunities for joint collaboration towards confronting the threat of COVID-19 and defeating this global pandemic.
She elaborated on the details of the clinical trials, saying: The clinical trial process is usually divided into three phases. The first phase mainly looks into the safety of the vaccine. Phase II evaluates immunogenicity and explores the immunization process in a limited number of individuals. Phase III considers the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in a larger population sample. If a vaccine is confirmed safe and effective throughout the entire clinical trial process, the test is considered successful, and the vaccine enters into the large-scale manufacturing phase.
"The vaccine succeeded in passing the first and second stages of the clinical trials without causing any harmful effects," she said, adding that the percentage of volunteers who managed to generate antibodies two days after taking the vaccine reached 100%.
She reiterated that the vaccine is still in the clinical trial and all updates will be announced in the due time.
Concluding, Al Hosani said people who have chronic diseases, include heart diseases, hypertension and respiratory illnesses face an increased risk of developing complications. "The higher risk groups also include people who smoke, are obese or have a weak immune system."
She stressed the necessity of continuing to comply with all precautionary and preventive measures.
For his part. Al Dhaheri said the directives of the UAE wise leadership have resulted in taking the right direction toward containing the health crisis and helping the country steadily continue its future oriented drive.
He announced the completion of the National Disinfection Programme nationwide. "Children below 12 in age are now allowed to enter commercial centres and restaurants across the emirates," he said.
"The National Disinfection Programe has completed the sterilization of all utilities nationwide, including means of public transport," he said, adding that sterilisation of public and private establishments will continue to ensure public safety.
However, public gatherings will remain prohibited, he said, calling for avoiding family visits, maintaining social distancing norms, and wearing masks and gloves when leaving home.
"It is compulsory to follow the three-passenger limit per vehicle if not from the same family. However, members of the same family are allowed to travel in the same vehicle," he continued.
He warned against violating the preventive and precautionary measures affirming that legal action will be taken against any violators in order to ensure public safety.
He urged all media outlets to continue their constructive role in nation-building and to shed light on the importance of complying with all COVID-19 countermeasures in support for the efforts made to survive the crisis.
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