Quarantine for students

Emirati students face quarantine when they return to the UAE for holidays

Emirati students could be quarantined abroad before they return home for the summer holidays as part of a plan to combat swine flu in the UAE.

New procedures are being implemented by the UAE authorities. Medical teams will be sent to UAE embassies in affected countries such as the US and Australia to screen students using thermal scanners.

The move comes after an increasing number of GCC students abroad were diagnosed with swine flu.

Humaid Al Qutami, Minister of Education, told Gulf News students suspected of carrying the H1N1 virus will be quarantined.

"This will reassure everyone and prevent panic until all students studying abroad have been checked, especially those coming from the US, Australia, Canada and Europe, where the majority of UAE students are," Al Qutami said.

There are 600 Emirati students studying abroad under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education, and four times the number of students studying on scholarships from other parties, such as government and semi-government authorities, banks, rulers' courts and private companies.

Dr Hanif Hassan, Minister of Health, told Gulf News the ministry is coordinating with the National Committee for Combating Swine flu.

"We will ask embassies to provide the committee with records about UAE students and tell us about suspected cases ... in order to isolate them and treat them before coming back to the UAE.

"We will contact their families and let them know all the details about these preventive procedures," Hassan said.

Neighbouring Oman has declared three cases of H1N1. "Three Omani students returned to Muscat last Saturday after a year-long course at a US University and all three have been found to be carrying the H1N1 virus," a spokesperson at the Ministry of Health told Gulf News.

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