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Dubai field hospital bids farewell to last virus patient

By AFP - Jul 07,2020 - Last updated at Jul 07,2020

Hiroaki Fujita (centre) from Japan, the last patient at the temporary COVID-19 hospital built in downtown Dubai in the United Arabic Emirates, greets nurses and doctors as he leaves the facility, on Tuesday (AFP photo)

DUBAI — Dubai on Tuesday closed its only field hospital set up at a convention centre to treat coronavirus cases after the last patient, a Japanese national, walked out in good health.

Doctors and nurses, still wearing protective gear, lined up clapping for Hiroaki Fujita as he left the Dubai World Trade Centre which was converted to a 3,000-bed field hospital in April to treat virus patients.

"I ask everyone to take a more safer way," Fujita told AFP. "Feeling very good that I am about to go out."

The number of coronavirus cases in the United Arab Emirates has dropped sharply from a peak of 900 a day in May, although there has been a new uptick recently to more than 500 cases daily.

The Gulf state has so far reported 52,600 coronavirus cases including 326 deaths and 41,714 recoveries.

A majority of the remaining patients are being treated at other hospitals across the UAE and some of them are recovering at home.

Director of the hospital Manal Taryam said medical equipment used will be "kept at stores and will be continuously sterilised, making them ready... in case of a second wave".

"If we need, we can reactivate the field hospital within hours ... But we are confident while closing it," she said.

"Today, thanks to efforts ... we have been able to put the pandemic under control," Taryam said.

The closure coincides with Dubai reopening its doors for tourists after a four-month shutdown with the hope of reviving the key tourism sector.


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