Elective dental care suspended in Dubai
DUBAI, UAE: Non-urgent dental treatment has been suspended in the emirate of Dubai—the most populous city and territory in the UAE. According to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the precautionary measure aims to protect patients and healthcare personnel from SARS-CoV-2 and to hinder the spread of the virus.
DHA advised hospitals and healthcare providers in late January that non-urgent dental care would be suspended and that the number of dental clinics operating in the emirate would be reduced.
Gulf Business reported on 27 January that dental services will only be provided from Sunday to Thursday between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. at the following hospitals: Al Mizhar Health Center, Nad Al Hamar Health Center, Al Barsha Health Center, Al Safa Health Center, Al Mamzar Health Center (paediatric care only), Rashid Hospital and Hatta Hospital. Emergency cases will be treated at the Nad Al Hamar and Al Barsha centres, and patients with prior appointments will be treated at the remaining facilities.
DHA’s dental administration stressed that urgent cases are being treated under strict preventive measures, dental staff donning face shields and full-body medical gowns, according to Gulf Business.
Local media outlets reported that the measures will remain in place until further notice and that non-urgent surgical procedures have been suspended until 19 February so that care for COVID-19 patients can be prioritised.
The UAE suspended elective dental treatment in March 2020 in order to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Elective care resumed in mid-June 2020 as health restrictions in the country were eased.
The suspension of elective dental treatment currently only applies to the Emirate of Dubai, despite a rising number of infections across the UAE in January. The country reported 3,251 new cases on 5 February and 14 deaths, according to data from the country’s National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority. A total of 320,126 SARS-CoV-2 cases and 902 associated deaths have been recorded in the UAE since the pandemic began.
Dubai emerged as a leading tourist destination during the pandemic, particularly for wealthy foreigners looking to escape gruelling preventive measures in their home countries. Cases of COVID-19 increased dramatically after New Year’s Eve, and Dubai’s monarchy was forced to react—stepping up its vaccination campaign and introducing new curbs on public and private life. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the emirate’s ruler, replaced DHA Director General Humaid al-Qutami unexpectedly and without explanation on 25 January.
Effective for the month of February, new restrictions in Dubai stipulate reduced capacity for hotels (70%), cinemas and other seated indoor venues (50%), and shopping malls, swimming pools and private beaches (70%). Pubs and bars have closed their doors for the month and restaurants and cafes are required to close by 1 a.m.