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COVID–19 – Healthcare Sector Update

Published: 13/08/2020

Over the past 6 months healthcare regulatory authorities across the UAE have taken substantial action to ensure that all stakeholders in the healthcare sector, and all people that are residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), are working together to flatten the Coronavirus (COVID-19) curve in the country.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoH), The Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH), The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and The Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA) have all enacted legislation, published circulars and drafted guidelines based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), medical professionals and scientists.

Banks and Regulators in the UAE have also announced a series of relief measures for individuals and businesses to contain the economic consequences and aid those who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most prominent of the measures prescribed by the respective healthcare regulatory authorities of the UAE over the past few months include:

 

The National Guidelines for Clinical Management and Treatment of COVID-19 (MOH)

These guidelines:

  • Were issued to provide a protocol on the practical steps to deal with COVID-19 cases:
  • Detail the measures necessary to protect hospital staff, patients and visitors;
  • Outline the prognostic factors & markers for a severe COVID-19 disease and goes into detail about the medications that may be prescribed and its possible side effects;
  • Are not intended to override the clinical decisions that will be made by clinicians providing individualised patient care.

 

Circular No (46) of 2020 on COVID-19 Research and Clinical Trials (DOH)

This circular was issued for the sake of the safety of patients participating in medical research and clinical trials in general, and in particular in research related to COVID-19 treatment. The DoH require that all health facilities adhere to the following:

  • Prevent overlaps of clinical trials to ensure patient’s safety;
  • Under no circumstance should patients enroll or participate in more than one clinical trial simultaneously, unless there is a clear protocol for compassionate use outlined in the original clinical trial proposal;
  • All Principal Investigators (PIs) and clinical trials staff must strictly stick to adherence to documentation of events on patients’ files;
  • In order to enhance clinical trials monitoring at DOH level, all PIs must submit clinical outcomes (recovery, no change, death, and adverse events) during the course of conduction of approved clinical trials) to DOH;
  • All clinical trials involving the use of immunomodulators and drug therapies must be carefully reviewed, monitored, and documented;
  • Mortality and data review for (ongoing for all COVID-19 related deaths) must be kept;
  • DOH will conduct further investigations and review to determine causality.

 

Home Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines during Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic (DHA)

These guidelines offer an explanation of the criteria and mechanisms for the implementation of measures to protect the residents of Dubai from the spread of COVID-19.

  • The guidelines offer a rationale for the consideration of alternative isolation settings, criteria for home isolation of COVID-19 patients, a checklist for home isolation, procedures regarding the home isolation of COVID-19 positive cases, patient guidelines and prevention guidelines for household members and caregivers;
  • Individuals are obliged to comply with all COVID-19 precautionary measures as outlined above failing which, penalties apply in cases of non-compliance as per the Resolution No. 38 of 2020 regarding the implementation of the updated regulations for controlling administrative violations and penalties issued by Cabinet Resolution No. 17 of 2020, to limit the spread of COVID-19;
  • A violation of any of the regulations will constitute a fine of AED 50,000 for violating the compulsory hospitalisation decision to the positive COVID-19 cases in the event of their direct refusal or follow-up to the treatment prescribed to them, despite notifying them of the necessity of that, and specialists may seek the assistance of the public authority to implement this decision;
  • A fine of AED 50,000 for not adhering to the quarantine instructions according to the endorsed health procedures, or refraining from implementing them.

 

DHCA Business Relief Package (DHCA)

The business relief packages vary for those businesses within the DHCA which are termed as ‘Directly Impacted Segments’ and those which are termed as ‘Other Segments’;

Businesses within the ‘Directly Impacted’ segments include Community Outlets, Complementary and Alternative Medicine services, Continuing Education for Health Professionals, Cosmetics, Aesthetics, Dermatology and Plastic Surgery services, Dental services, Educational support services, Food & Beverage Outlets, Higher Education providers, Hotels, Ophthalmology services, Personal Care Centres, Schools, Support services, Technical & Occupational Skills and Wellness Studios;

Business that fall within the ‘Other Segments’ include pharmacies and supermarkets include convenience stores, grocery stores and mini stores.

 

  • Relief packages for ‘Impacted Segments’ within the DHCA
    • Those businesses that fall within the ‘impacted segments’ are entitled up to one hundred percent waivers for late renewal of commercial license fees, penalties, re-instatement fees and pre-op assessment fees for new clinical operating permits;
    • Up to fifty per cent discount in fees for new commercial license and renewals, new clinical operating permit fee, renewal of clinical operating permit, Initial professional application fee, late renewal professional fee;
    • Up to twenty-five per cent discount in fees for clinical violations, up to thirty-three percent discount in fees for adding additional business segments.

 

  • Relief Packages for ‘Other Segments’ within the DHCA
    • The businesses that fall within the other segments get up to fifty per cent waivers for the late renewal fees for a commercial, Initial application fees, penalties and re-instatement fees;
    • Additional benefits for partners in DHCA buildings include three months of free rent for Food and Beverage Outlets and up to three months deferred base rent payment and one hundred per cent waiver of admin fees (late payment, NOC) (application) related to leasing and engineering.

 

Al Tamimi & Company’s specialist healthcare lawyers, regularly advise on legal and regulatory matters concerning the healthcare sector. For more details on our offering and how we can assist you, please contact us at healthcare@tamimi.com.

If you would like to have additional information on any of the topics covered above, or with other matters that are impacting your business with regard to COVID-19, please contact our special coronavirus email address: COVID-19advice@tamimi.com.

 

Key Contacts:

Andrea Tithecott
Partner, Head of Regulatory, Head of Healthcare
a.tithecott@tamimi.com