As the World Health Organization (WHO) recently raised the alert status of the COVID-19, now being a pandemic, health authorities across the world are asking travelers to postpone their travel plans unless necessary, but it is just as important for those who travel to know the checks and measures in place as well as their responsibilities in their immediate communities.
This is in line with the spike in local/community transmission of the disease in most parts of the world, noting a shift of focus from China to other highly visited places including Italy and South Korea.
DHA Announces New Travel Procedures Amid Global Crisis due to COVID-19
On Thursday (March 5), the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) asked all citizens and residents to avoid traveling due to COVID-19. The Ministry highlighted that if travel is necessary, preventive measures will be taken upon the traveler’s return to the UAE, according to a report by WAM.
In a statement released by MOHAP, Dr. Manal Taryam, CEO of Primary Healthcare at the DHA discussed the latest measures in the UAE.
Dr. Taryam said: “The 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.”
She also noted that depending on the travel history, people may be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days.
In line with this, 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.
14-Day Home Isolation for Travellers from These Countries
And as of the moment, 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 China, Hong Kong, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Singapore, and France. However, the DHA noted that the list can quickly change depending on the situation.
According to the announcement, during the stay at home quarantine, community members should:
- Keep an eye if they develop a fever or any flu-like symptoms.
- Avoid contact with others, and
- Not go to work or school during this 14-day period.
Dr. Taryam further explained that community members 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,” she said.
Furthermore, the DHA noted that if an individual develops a fever (37.5 C or higher) or have symptoms of any respiratory illness, they should seek medical care.
And finally, 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.
And finally, the DHA urges people to only rely on information from official sources and those who have any query can call the following numbers:
- DHA call center -800 342,
- Estijaba service at the operation center, Department of Health – 8001717 or Ministry of Health & Prevention – 80011111.