Abu Dhabi has approved three new COVID-19 tests for use in hospital emergency rooms and urgent care centres in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital. This latest introduction comes as new cases of the coronavirus surge in the country.
Announced by the Department of Health (DoH), Abu Dhabi via the Abu Dhabi Media Office, the new antigen, reverse-transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP), and saliva tests can offer faster results in emergency settings, and “enable physicians to make rapid decisions regarding medical treatment”.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
According to a statement by the DoH, the antigen test comprises a nasal swab rapid viral detection test that provides results in 20 minutes. Meanwhile, the RT-LAMP genetic test is another nasal swab test that provides results in 60 minutes.
The third and final test – the saliva specimen test – is reserved for children in healthcare settings should a nasal swab not be possible. A similar saliva test for children was approved in Dubai last November.
The approval of three new tests comes as new cases of COVID-19 recorded today reached an all-time daily high of 3,601, sparking fears of a new lockdown. Today’s cases bring the total number of cases in the UAE to 285,147. Since the coronavirus outbreak, there have been 259,194 recoveries and 805 lives lost in the country.
During the country’s strict lockdown in March and April of last year, the daily cases were less than one-tenth of that figure.
Over the weekend, the country’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) posted on its social media an “Urgent Hiring” notice for intensive care unit (ICU) nurses, while the Dubai Health Authority (DoH) informed hospitals and clinics to suspend non-essential procedures for at least one month.
Today, the DoH announced that it has now also suspended “some non-urgent elective dental services and reduced the number of dental clinics across DHA facilities in the emirate as a precautionary measure to protect patients and healthcare personnel from COVID-19 and prevent its spread”.
In addition to the tests mentioned above, other tests used to detect COVID-19 include the most common nasal PCR test; the laser DPI test; the LamPORE test, and the antibody blood test.
ON THE RECORD
“We have approved a new set of diagnostic tests of COVID-19 that are based on global updates and the latest scientific developments in the detection of the virus to be used in emergency departments across the emirate,” said Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary of the DoH Abu Dhabi.