Expat professionals in Dubai helping the state deal with coronavirus

Published:  25 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: Dubai
Dubai is utilising tech to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

As the most forward-looking of all the Gulf States, Dubai’s focus on science and tech as weapons against the coronavirus pandemic is a demonstration of its progress in the region. Expat and local professionals including epidemiologists and doctors are forming a key part of the country’s fight to limit the effect of the pandemic, using state of the art labs, research centres and hospitals. Solid digital infrastructure is being used every which way to collect and analyse data, coordinate with workers at the front line and stay abreast of the huge amount of scientific research being carried out not just in Dubai itself but also in the rest of the world’s centres of excellence.

Over 1.6 million tests have been carried out, with numbers of infections to date totalling 28,700 and the death rate is now at 244. According to the leader of the city’s team, the high-tech approach and total digitalisation of the health system itself has reduced the numbers of cases as well as making the lockdown far easier to manage. Expat professionals now understand the virus has provided an opportunity to test not only potential carriers but also the capabilities of the emirate’s systems. Fast decisions based on science and data were made, setting Dubai in the front line of countries using science and technology to curb the effects of the pandemic.

Although the emirate wasn’t gifted with the massive oil wealth common in its neighbours, it now has a diversified economy larger than any other state in the region. Its reputation isn’t just for mineral wealth but is also based on tourism, finance and the commercial sector. Last year, the state even sent a man into space, and is on track to launch a probe towards Mars as early as this July. As regards innovative tech in fight against the virus, Dubai police now wear helmets able to take the temperature of passers-by and even send a message to their smart phones if necessary. The city’s huge expat community is warned via smart phone the nightly curfew is about to start, using English, Arabic and other common languages.

Admittedly, numbers of expat professionals as well as scientists, tech experts and the local media are repeatedly warning about surveillance and privacy risks, with several websites and apps already blocked by the state. Even so, this forward-looking, tech-based society is a first in the region and is determined to create its own models for this and many other situations.
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