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Coronavirus update: UAE launches Virtual Doctor to combat COVID-19

The UAE has reportedly carried out more than 125,000 tests for Coronavirus and the online tool aims to ease the burden on the health services.

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) has launched a ‘virtual doctor’ to assess potential cases of coronavirus, as part of the efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic.

According to recent reports, the UAE has carried out more than 125,000 tests for coronavirus. MOHAP has highlighted that almost 13,000 people per million had been assessed as part of efforts to combat the spread of the pandemic. The authority also said its testing coverage was "the highest in the world".

Coronavirus queries answered

The virtual doctor aims to ease the burden on the health services across the country. It asks users five multiple-choice questions, including a person’s travel history, symptoms and if they’ve been in contact with someone who has been infected with the coronavirus.

The tool tells users, “Salam Alaikum, I’m here to guide you through the Coronavirus Assessment Tool. If you’re experiencing a life- or limb-threatening emergency, call (998). I’m not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a medical professional for serious symptoms or emergencies.”

The first question asked is if the person has travelled to China Including Hong Kong, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, Spain, France, Germany, United States of America, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Japan, Belgium, Austria, Kuwait, Bahrain.

It then asks if the person has been in contact with someone who has travelled or transited through these countries and is now sick. This is followed by a question on if they’ve been in contact with anyone who is infected and if they are experiencing any symptoms such as a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat or shortness of breath.

Depending on the answers, the tool gives two different responses. It could be ‘we would like to talk with you as soon as possible. Please call 998’ or ‘dear patient, you have a low risk for Covid-19. If you need further information please call the following number: 800-FLU(358)’.

Help is at hand

There are also online tools in the UAE that are available to residents. This includes the ‘Doctor for Every Citizen’ initiative, launched by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which offers 24/7 consultations with doctors regarding Covid-19 concerns via video and voice calls. Appointments can be made on DHA’s hotline, 800 324.

Moreover, the Abu Dhabi Department of Health has launched a website, www.doh.saal.ai, to keep residents informed about the coronavirus.

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