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‘UAE’s low Covid-19 fatality stems from smaller elderly population’
  • By Song Soo-youn
  • Published 2020.06.10 11:49
  • Updated 2020.06.10 17:59
  • comments 0

The Middle East has a large number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but the fatality rate remains below 1 percent. Six out of the 10 countries with the lowest Covid-19 death rates come from the Middle East region, and their fatality rate stays lower than 0.7 percent.

The low fatality was attributed to a relatively smaller population of people aged 60 or more in the region, according to Professor Kwon Yong-jin of the Seoul National University Hospital. Kwon is working as head of the SNUH’s Middle East branch at the UAE’s Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital (SKSH) in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. SNUH has been operating the hospital since 2014.

Professor Kwon Yong-jin of the Seoul National University Hospital’s Middle East branch at the UAE’s Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital (SKSH) in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, shares the UAE’s Covid-19 situation on a live YouTube show, “Corona Fighters Live,” on Friday by K-Healthlog, operated by The Korean Doctors’ Weekly.

As of Tuesday, the UAE had 39,376 patients confirmed with Covid-19 and 281 deaths. The death rate stood at 0.7 percent. The country ranks 11th in terms of the low Covid-19 death rate.

Kwon shared the UAE’s situation on a live YouTube show, “Corona Fighters Live,” on Friday by K-Healthlog, operated by The Korean Doctors’ Weekly. Korea Biomedical Review also conducted an additional video interview with him.

“This country has a young age on average, so there are not many elderly people. The majority of the population is migrant workers, so the average age is relatively young. Most of the migrant workers are aged under 60,” Kwon said. “I think that a small population of the elderly is the biggest factor affecting the low fatality.”

Other countries in the Middle East also have a low Covid-19 death rate. Still, it is not because they have an excellent capability to treat critically ill patients, Kwon noted. “I also assumed that people in this region experienced the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which could have made them immune to the Covid-19 virus,” he said.

A large portion of immigrant workers led to continuous cluster infections in the UAE, according to Kwon.

“Immigrant workers account for about 90 percent of the UAE’s population. Most of them live together in a dormitory. This caused cluster infections,” he said.

The UAE had a large number of confirmed cases because the country ran tests extensively. The UAE tops the number of Covid-19 tests per 1 million population in the world. According to the Emirati health authorities, the UAE’s accumulated Covid-19 tests have surpassed 2.5 million, or 27 percent of the 9.37 million total population, as of Saturday.

“The UAE has a high incidence of Covid-19, compared to its population. It had more than 37,000 confirmed cases (as of Friday). The number looks very large, but it was because they went through many tests,” Kwon said. “This meant that about one-fifth of the Emirati population underwent Covid-19 tests, and the UAE seems to prevent and control Covid-19 through extensive testing.”

soo331@docdocdoc.co.kr

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