Novel Coronavirus and Dubai healthcare facility obligations

Photo: Al Tamimi & Company

Based on the directives received from Ministry of Health & Protection (“MOHAP”), and several Dubai Health Authority (“DHA”) circulars, all DHA licensed health facilities must classify any confirmed or suspected 2019-nCoV (“Coronavirus”) cases as emergency cases within the following two categories:

  • Insurance Coverage is Available: In such an instance, the case must be treated as an emergency according to the insurance regulations, and insurance companies are required to honour any claims received under such classification.
  • Unavailability of Insurance Coverage: Such cases are to also be considered emergency cases, and any such suspected or confirmed cases will not be obliged to bear any healthcare costs incurred at DHA licensed health care facilities.

In an effort to ensure the health and safety of the community and contain patients with confirmed or suspected infections, and to provide such patients with proper health care services, all health facilities licensed by DHA should adhere to DHA Circular No. 0356, dated 23/01/2020, issued by the DHA Public Health Department, and the Interim Guide to Novel Coronavirus Infection 2019-nCoV, as published by the UAE Health Regulatory Authorities. Healthcare providers are required to report any suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus immediately to the DHA Preventive Medicine Section.

Hospitals - Management of Suspected Cases:

DHA licensed healthcare facilities have the following obligations in the case of suspected or confirmed infections of Coronavirus:

  • Hospitals, both governmental or private, have an obligation not to discharge suspected cases, unless negative results are proven from an accredited laboratory;
  • Suspected cases should be immediately isolated;
  • Suspected case should be admitted to separate isolation rooms equipped with negative pressure and, in case of unavailability of negative pressure, then isolation patients should be placed in a room with good ventilation;
  • Facilities must immediately notify suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus to the DHA Preventive Medicine Section via phone or Sheryan and complete the patient under investigation (“PUI") form provided with the DHA circular; and
  • Samples of suspected cases must be coordinated for transportation to DHA with the Microbiology & Infection Control Unit – Virology Lab – Latifa Women and Children Hospital. At this stage, the laboratory testing for 2019-nCOV is performed at the National Public Health Lab only.

Medical Centres & Clinics - Management of Suspected Cases:

Suspected cases at medical centres and clinics must be handled in the same way as points 2-5 under the hospital obligations, mentioned above, and such facilities must:

  • Coordinate with Dubai Ambulance for patients transportation to a hospital;
  • Register the suspected cases in special logbook and report to the hospital the laboratory results; and
  • All clinics and medical centres with the following specialties - family medicine, ENT, paediatrics, and general medicine - must take all necessary precautions to prevent infection spread, in accordance with the DHA approved procedures, by providing an emergency isolation room upon receiving suspected case, till the case is delivered to the ambulance vehicle for transfer to hospital.

The above mentioned circulars can be found here:

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