In a Lecture Held by the ECSSR, Alawi Alsheikh-Ali: The UAE Has Implemented Global Best Practices in Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) organized lecture No. (753) on Tuesday evening, July 28, 2020, titled ‘Scientific Evidence and Decision-making in Confronting COVID-19’. The lecture was delivered by Prof. Alawi Alsheikh-Ali, Provost of Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE. The ECSSR broadcast the lecture on its YouTube channel and Twitter page.

Prof. Alawi Alsheikh began by discussing the methodology adopted by the UAE to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said has been built on three main pillars. The first pillar was to promote and create an expanded national program for early screening and diagnosis, the second involved contact tracing and quarantining according to medical guidelines, and the third ensured that those infected were isolated and treated based on the most recent treatment guidelines. He explained that the UAE has built on domestic, regional and global best practices in fighting the pandemic and has relied on scientific data and evidence in the decision-making process.

Prof. Alawi Alsheikh said the average number of COVID-19 tests administered daily in the UAE is approximately 50,000, and noted that the number of recoveries has increased significantly thanks to the diagnostic, preventive and curative efforts provided to patients. He emphasized that the UAE’s death rate from the virus, according to the latest statistics, is 0.6 percent, making it one of the lowest mortality rates worldwide.

The lecturer also spoke about global speculation on the likelihood of a ‘second wave’ of the virus, explaining that these concerns are based on hypothetical studies and historical data from past pandemics. Prof. Alawi Alsheikh said neither of these are scientifically sound and that the most important considerations are preparedness for all possibilities and to apply the lessons learned regarding precautionary and preventive measures. He also noted that there are more than 140 clinical studies worldwide to develop a vaccine against the virus, 20 of which are in the advanced stage of clinical trials.

At the end of the lecture, Prof. Alawi Alsheikh-Ali reviewed the improvements that can be made, locally and globally, to ensure preparedness for any future challenges. He stressed the importance of enhancing the UAE’s scientific research system, focusing on the accuracy of data, particularly in the healthcare sector, and that this data should be interconnected to facilitate its access and use in decision-making. Moreover, he stressed the importance of improving coordination between the private and public sectors to consolidate the UAE’s capacity in addressing the pandemic based on a clear approach and resilient mechanism.