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Dubai leverages emerging tech to battle pandemic

The UAE is a world-renowned leader in adopting smart city technologies and since the novel coronavirus struck the entire world, there has been no better time than now to leverage the opportunities that emerging technologies brings into our lives.

The Emirate of Dubai set up a COVID-19 Command and Control Center which has played a vital role in the country’s battle against the pandemic. This was set up in conjunction with Dubai’s doctors and epidemiologists, among others. The initiative is backed by Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health sciences (MBRU).

“For several years, Dubai has endeavored to put in place solid digital infrastructure, and this has contributed to the fight against the coronavirus,” said Amer Sharif, who heads the multidisciplinary center.

The initiative was launched at the beginning of the health crisis by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai. It includes a team of people who coordinate with researchers in groups and scientific teams whose role is to stay up to date on the latest advances in scientific evidence and research pertaining to the pandemic.

According to Sharif, this high-tech approach to solving the crisis includes “the complete digitization of the health system” has contributed to the prevention of a greater of the virus and has made the lockdown much easier.

According to associate professor of public health and epidemiology at MBRU, Tom Loney, the virus was an opportunity for the emirate to put its capabilities to the test.

As of yet, the UAE has carried out over 1.6 million coronavirus tests and has officially declared over 28,700 inflections and 244 deaths.

“It’s the ability to react, to make quick decisions based on data and science,” said Loney. Indeed, Dubai has one of the most diversified economy in the Gulf which has built a reputation for itself as the financial, commercial and tourism hub.

Apart from this, Dubai already has a great deal of technology which could be used to better manage the pandemic-induced issues. The emirate was quick to put its technology to a wide range of uses during the crisis.

Dubai Police have been provided with smart helmets which measure the temperature of passers-by and laboratories have even taken steps towards producing their own protective masks via 3D printers.

The emirate has also imposed a curfew to curb the spread of the virus and they have ensured that all the city’s residents receive an alert on their phones in English, Arabic and other languages.

“Dubai and the Emirates respect privacy, whether it is a question of patient records or smart applications,” said Sharif and he positively spoke about the initiatives which were taken by the South Korean government in their fight against COVID-19.

“We must follow the developments… but also add to them,” he stated.