Coronavirus: Face masks are here to stay for up to a year, say UAE doctors

Published on January 12 2021

Face masks worn in public will be around for the foreseeable future as a tool to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, say UAE doctors. 


Facial coverings have been mandatory in the UAE since the height of the pandemic. A 3,000 Dirham fine remains for anyone not adhering to safety regulations. 


Rules have since been relaxed allowing no facemask requirements whilst a person is exercising. People with certain medical conditions are also exempt. 


The new normal 

Face masks are the new norm, and medical professionals speaking to Al Arabiya English say the trend is here to stay during 2021. 


Dr Saheer Sainalabdeen, Specialist Respiratory Medicine Medeor Hospital, Abu Dhabi, noted that the majority of available vaccines have an efficacy of around 95 percent, but their “effectiveness to prevent transmission [of Coronavirus] even if it does will be something less than that.” 

“So, until we build up the immunity in the public to around 70 percent we have to wear masks and follow other precautions.” 


'A long way to go' 


Dr Abner Rivas Abejo, a specialist in Internal Medicine at Dubai’s Medeor Hospital, said: “Even with the presence of vaccines against COVID-19 which has shown great efficacy and safety profile, we still have a long way to go until we can stop wearing masks. 


“Wearing a mask properly has been one of the effective barrier that keeps a person from getting infected not only with the COVID-19 virus but from other respiratory viruses as well. It prevents these microscopic organisms to enter and invade our bodies and cause disease by preventing entry from our airways. 

“This is why it is very important to use and wear masks properly.”