Dubai puts new travel procedures for Covid-19

By Eudore R. Chand

Mandatory home-quarantine for returning students & school staff

DUBAI 11 March 2020: While health authorities across the world are asking travellers to postpone their travel plans unless necessary, it is important for those who travel to know the checks and measures in place as well as their responsibility, especially if they have recently travelled to places of widespread coronavirus transmission.

On Thursday, 5th March, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention asked all citizens and residents to avoid travelling due to Covid-19. The ministry highlighted that if travel is necessary, preventive measures will be taken upon the traveller’s return to the UAE.

In a statement released by the ministry yesterday, Dr Manal Taryam, CEO of Primary Healthcare at the DHA discussed the latest measures in the UAE.

She said, “DHA and all relevant health authorities in the UAE are working together and have in place screenings at the airport as well as after-travel precautions that people with recent history of travel to places of concern must follow. All these measures are aimed to control and slow the spread of coronavirus.”

Home Isolation

“Depending on the travel history, people may be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days,” explained Dr. Taryam.

Dubai airports have been carrying out strict measures such as non-intrusive thermal screening for all passengers that arrive at Dubai airports and passengers from countries with a high infection rate are screened twice.

Now, passengers who return from Countries of Concern or from one of the top ten countries reporting local transmission of Covid-19 disease will also have to undergo home isolation for 14 days, to ensure they remain infection free and avoid spreading the virus in case they end up developing symptoms during the 14-day incubation period.

Presently, the Countries of Concern are

  1. China
  2. Hong-Kong
  3. Italy
  4. Iran
  5. South Korea
  6. Japan
  7. Germany
  8. Singapore, and
  9. France

The list can quickly change depending on the situation.

Dr Taryam said, “All travelers who return from Countries of Concern will be asked to practice home quarantine and social distancing as a way of protecting their loved ones and the community members from the spread of the virus. The period of home quarantine will be for 14 days since that is the incubation period of this virus.”

Dr Taryam said that during the stay at home quarantine, community members should keep an eye if they develop a fever or any flu-like symptoms. They should avoid contact with others, they should not go to work or school for this 14-day period.

During this time, Dr Taryam said that they should be responsible, avoid taking any public transportation, and avoid any crowded public place. “The basic idea is to stay indoors and to keep a distance from other family members (about 3 feet or 1 meter) until the self-isolation period is over. This is a matter of community health and it’s a precaution that should be taken seriously.”

School Students & Staff

For school students and all school staff, self-isolation for 14 days after returning to the UAE is mandatory irrespective of which country they have travelled to. While schools are shut until 5th April, all students and staff who have travelled during period of closure will need to practice self-isolation for 14 days.

If an individual gets sick with fever (37.5 C or higher) or have symptoms of any respiratory illness, they should seek medical care. The DHA advised individuals to call ahead before visiting their doctor’s office or emergency room. “Tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms, and avoid contact with others,” it added.

Dr Taryam said, “We are working round-the-clock to protect community members and care for them. We urge the public to join us in our fight against Covid-19. Responsible behaviour helps protect your loved ones and community members, it prevents the ongoing community spread of Covid-19.”

She also added that people should only rely on information from official sources and those who have any query can call the following numbers DHA call centre -800 342, Estijaba service at the operation centre, Department of Health – 8001717 or Ministry of Health & Prevention – 80011111.

READ MORE AT CORONAVIRUS

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Dubai Gazette