UAE: How mass testing for COVID helped contain coronavirus

The UAE has among the highest COVID testing rates in the world. Countries around the globe could not implement mass testing because of the increased burden on their health systems caused by the pandemic.

However, the UAE gave residents access to high quality and affordable health services and tests. And this has helped contain the virus and reduce the death toll, a new study has found.

The UAE authorities have been conducting over 300,000 Covid tests daily over the past few days. Overall, the country has conducted over 72 million Covid tests till date.

Now, a team of researchers from the Abu Dhabi Centre for Public Health and the Institute of Public Health of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences of the United Arab Emirates University has examined the outcome of the country’s mass testing programme.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, executive director of Infectious Diseases Sector, Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, and official spokesperson for the Health Sector in the UAE, said: “The adoption of technologies helped the country rapidly upgrade its testing capabilities and diagnostic methods. Some of the key success drivers of the UAE’s response to the pandemic include improving monitoring and early detection by expanding the number of surveillance (and) field medical teams; investing in laboratory capabilities to accelerate testing by adopting high quality labs; and establishing drive-through centres across the country.”

According to Dr Eric Koornneeff from the UAE University, who led the research, “the study sought to share the UAE’s experience with the whole world to benefit from it”.

Dr. Marilia Silva Paulo, also from the UAE University, added that “the open testing strategy impacted both the population health and the health systems capacity”.

This study is part of many other researches carried out by the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre.


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