Swine Flu: The latest

Government denies it had any plans to ask returning expats for health certificates

The UAE Ministry of Health has strongly denied it will demand expatriates in the UAE on holiday abroad to produce a medical certificate proving they are not infected with swine flu before returning to the country.

An unnamed source within the National Supervisory Committee for Combating Swine Flu had been quoted in a media report on Tuesday as saying that from August any person with swine flu symptoms without the certificate would be refused entry to the UAE .

But a senior health official has since quashed suggestions the government planned to take this action.

"The news about this issue is completely untrue," said Dr Ali bin Shuker, director of the Ministry of Health and Chairman of the Technical Health Committee for Combating Swine Flu, speaking later on Tuesday, in a report by WAM news agency.

He also denied suggestions, in the same report by UAE daily Gulf News, that shopping malls would be provided with thermal scanners to detect people with the virus.

"The idea was not even included on the agenda of the two committees," he said.

The National Supervisory Committee for Combating Swine Flu was committed to standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHOto fight the virus, he said.

He said the authorities were striving to implement a public awareness plan about the virus in cooperation with other government stakeholders including ministries of education and higher education and the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowment.

"The National Supervisory Committee for Combating Swine Flu is handling issues regarding this disease with transparency and clarity out of its keenness for the safety of the public," he said.

The committee kept the public informed about the latest developments on swine flu through weekly updates every Monday or interviews officials gave to TV, radio and other media outlets, he added.

The two committees are government organisations set up to fight the spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Health said on Monday that 11 patients with swine flu had been discharged from hospital after fully recovering from the virus.

Thirty five more swine flu patients were still receiving treatment in hospital, with their condition described as stable, it said.

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