Implementing laws and resolutions on combatting communicable diseases
Federal Law No.14 of 2014 on Combatting Communicable Diseases (the law) (550 KB, PDF in Arabic) applies to every person in the UAE and on all communicable diseases listed in the appendix of the law. After the outbreak of COVID-19 in December 2019, Ministry of Health and Prevention added COVID-19 in the list of communicable diseases mentioned in the said federal law.
Cabinet Resolution No. 33 of 2016 which relates to the Executive Regulations of Federal Law No. 14 of 2014 mandates relevant authorities to implement strategies and plans to reduce the rates of infection and deaths caused by communicable diseases, through early detection and control of infected cases and sources of contagion.
The resolution defines the terms used and the ways to report such diseases, including those that could be transmitted from animals, the measures that ought to be followed when any of the listed communicable diseases are discovered and how to fight it.
Furthermore, it includes the rights and duties of patients with communicable diseases, conditions of isolation and quarantine, procedures to deal with deaths and those who arrive in the country with infections or suspected to be infected of such diseases.
Reporting communicable diseases
Under the law, communicable diseases must be reported. Failure to do so will make the person liable to penalties including jail or fine or both. Here are some of the other provisions of the law:
- Doctors, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and medical professionals in the government and the private sector must report within 24 hours about any person suffering from or who has died of a communicable disease.
- Adults who came in contact with a person infected or suspected to be infected with a communicable disease must also report the incident immediately to the nearest health authority in the country.
- Any person who knows that he suffers from a communicable disease and yet intentionally indulges in a behaviour that exposes others to transmission is liable by law.
- Whoever knows that he is infected or suspects to be infected and fails to inform the health authorities is liable by law.
- Individuals who fail to show up for tests and treatment despite knowing that they are infected or likely to have been infected and those who refuse to adhere to the preventive measures or prescriptions and instructions given will be prosecuted.
Private sector medical facilities in Dubai submit notification about any infectious disease to Dubai Health Authority through the 'Infectious Disease Notification System'.
Setting a national policy for disease prevention
The UAE's National Policy for Disease Prevention (Arabic content) aims to enhance the preventive measures of communicable diseases in the UAE through detection and control.
Introducing health programmes
The UAE initiated various health programmes to combat communicable and contagious diseases. Some of the programmes are:
Establishing medical fitness centres
In light of the presence of a high number of foreign workers in the UAE, the UAE established medical fitness centres for foreign workers. In order to be able to obtain a work permit or a residence visa, foreign nationals need to be free of all forms of communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and syphilis.
Launching vaccination programmes
The UAE provides vaccination to all children residing in the country as a first defence line against the emergence of communicable and contagious diseases. These include vaccinations against tuberculosis, BCG, hepatitis, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, Haemophilus influenza and pneumococcal influenza.
Updated on 08 Apr 2020