The men and women in uniform have been on the frontlines of the country’s fight against the coronavirus
More than 30,000 UAE army personnel have received the Covid-19 vaccine to keep the force safe from infections, a senior official from the Ministry of Defence has said.
Brigadier-General Dr Aisha Al Dhaheri, commander of medical service corps, UAE Armed Forces, said those who received the jabs included military contractors and national services recruits.
The men and women in uniform, she said, have been on the frontlines of the country’s fight against the coronavirus. They helped deliver critical care supplies, transported critically ill patients to hospitals and ensured border security amid the pandemic.
“We used military personnel for case detection by creating five screening centres. We also supported the vaccination trials for the UAE,” said Dr Dhaheri.
She was addressing a virtual conference hosted by the ministry about the role of the military in building resilience and response to non-military threats.
She said the UAE army has played a crucial role in defending the country against the pandemic by closely coordinating with civilian institutions.
“The UAE Armed Forces has been heavily involved in addressing medical, logistical and security requirements as part of the UAE government’s efforts to counter the pandemic,” said Dr Dhaheri.
She said the army was involved in ramping up the UAE’s domestic medical response “even before the diagnosis of the first Covid case in the UAE”.
At the Sheikh Shakbout Military City in Abu Dhabi, Dr Dhaheri said, medical personnel in the military worked with civilian doctors and treated thousands of patients. “A special team was set up to expand the bed capacity of the hospital from 300 to 525 … and 135 intensive care units.”
She said the army also made sure essential medical supplies and supply chains were maintained by leveraging its transportation capacities. “Our air force transported WHO supplies and personnel from Dubai to Teheran to help them combat Covid.”
As security is also a key aspect, the official said the armed forces has been advising and offering its expertise to government officials on issues of national security and ensuring safety and freedom of movement.
Armed forces around the world have worked with governments for logistical support, contact tracing, communication, medical support, collaboration and coordination, and maintenance of public order.
Stressing on the need to leverage defence capabilities to prevent and mitigate non-military threats, she said “our goal is to defeat this pandemic, improve national resilience and cooperate on a global scale to ensure peace, health and security”.
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