Dubai: The UAE government is doing a lot in terms of raising awareness on the importance of maintaining social distancing and strictly following COVID-19 safety guidelines set by authorities for the benefit of its citizens and residents.
However, more often than not, and unfortunately so, residents have been seen flouting the rules for simple reasons that wearing a mask can be uncomfortable, or there is a birthday or an anniversary party that is a must to attend. The UAE on Saturday reported 1,007 COVID-19 cases, crossing the 1000-mark for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, which takes the overall number of confirmed infections to 78,849.
In interviews to Gulf News, medical experts and concerned residents raised the need to taken more stringent action against those seen flouting the rules. Take a look at what some people had to say.
Dr. Vipin Mishra — Consultant Endocrinology, Zulekha Hospital Dubai, said social distancing is absolutely necessary to follow till the time we don’t have even one positive infected person in the country. “It is highly recommended to comply with rules and regulations laid down by the government with respect to social distancing as these have been laid down after considering best practices followed globally in the fight against the virus.
Dr. Mishra explained: “Respiratory infections are spread through droplets and we know viral infections spread at a very fast rate. Maintaining distance is important to avoid spread of these infections from one to another. Fomite-based infections are another element we need to be careful of. Infected surfaces can be very serious carriers of viruses and infect people moving around in public places quickly. Airborne viruses are a danger we need to keep off from, with social distancing and avoiding crowded places/gatherings. The viruses stay in the air for two to six hours. Coming in contact with these can get one infected.”
He said: “At the end of the day, we are all responsible for a healthier tomorrow. Be it COVID-19 or other viruses, we must maintain distance, always wear a mask, sanitise and ensure our immune system is strong.”
Dr. Rameshan Peringeth, general physician at Prime Medical Centre in Deira could not agree more. “People are not taking the need for social distancing seriously. As restrictions have been lifted, people are taking the pandemic situation rather lightly. We are all responsible not just for ourselves but that of others too. There are several asymptomatic carriers of the virus. They could be spreading it to those with a more vulnerable health condition.”
The new SMS — Social distancing, masks and sanitisers
Peringeth said: “When you step out of the house, tell yourself that you will keep a safe distance. It is not just sneezing that spread the virus but also talking. So wear a mask while talking all times. Maintain social distance in the lift. Teach children about the safety of social distancing.”
Canadian expat Sam Chan, 33, an influencer in Dubai, said: “Everyone needs to do their part to defeat the virus. Practice safe distancing no matter how uncomfortable it is. For example, wearing a mask may be really uncomfortable but you still got to wear it.”
Pakistani expat Muzaffar Hussain, 44, who works in the role of an assistant vice president for an insurance brokerage firm said: “Some people are not aware of the sensitivity of the pandemic. Global authorities like WHO and the UAE government have laid down rules for social distancing. I just wish people would adhere to them.”
British expat Yasmin Hussain, 48, said large gatherings are one of the main reasons for the recent spike in COVID-19 numbers in the UAE. “We will see the numbers spiking if people continue to blatantly ignore the rules. In my opinion, the gathering of large crowds are the main source. As a small business, we try every way to keep the staff and students protected and if everyone did the same we would be in a much stronger position in our battle to eradicate and control Covid 19.
Augustine Joseph, 65, an Indian yoga trainer living in Dubai, said he conducts several online tutorials and it feels like a social gathering virtually. “There is no need to physically meet up. One can do all that they want to do virtually. At least until such time that the numbers come down, people must stay safe.”
Dr Rameshan Peringeth General physician Prime Medical Center Deira