United Arab Emirates: How safe are swimming pools for transmitting COVID-19?

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Dubai: Swimming pools are safe from transmission of COVID-19, provided people follow guidelines set out by health authorities in their respective emirates, health experts say.

Allaying public fears of using sanitized swimming pools amid the pandemic, Dr Payal Modi, specialist medical microbiologist and chair of infection control at the Royal NMC Dubai Hospital said: “The pools are regularly sanitized and sanitized in accordance with municipal guidelines for not only COVID-19 but other microbes and bacteria that are waterborne and can be transmitted to those who swim. In the United Arab Emirates, according to municipal guidelines, all swimming pools are checked for their PH levels and disinfected with chlorine, which is a strong disinfectant that can destroy or inactivate the SARS VOC 2 virus in 30 seconds. People are advised not to spit or cough in swimming pools, but in this case all bacteria and viruses are destroyed as soon as they touch the surface of the water, which contains 1 to 2 parts per million (PPM ) chlorine in accordance with municipal guidelines. Chlorine is also what we use to disinfect COVID-19 services in hospitals. Therefore, there is no danger of transmission of COVID-19 through swimming pools. “

No known incidence of transmission in water bodies

Prime Healthcare medical director and specialist pulmonologist Dr Mohammad Rafique said: “So far, according to the Center for Disease Control, there have been no known cases of COVID-19 transmission through the plans. water. In fact, in swimming pools, where people need to be careful, it is in changing rooms, showers and the use of common items such as nose clips, shower caps, snorkels, etc. Routine use of these items should be avoided. In swimming pools, the designated distance of one to three meters should be maintained. City officials, in new post COVID-19 guidelines, only allow one person per four square meters in the water. Maintaining an adequate distance in swimming pools can ensure that there is no airborne transmission of the virus. “

Dubai Municipality Protocols

The Dubai Municipality has issued strict post COVID-19 guidelines for all public swimming pools that have reopened. The guidelines include regular disinfection of swimming pools, the use of masks and all COVID-19 hygiene protocols by lifeguards and other staff. Swimming pools should follow a regular cleaning and disinfection regimen in common areas such as locker rooms and showers after each use. There is a regular hygiene protocol to be followed for all enclosed areas with indoor ventilation near pool areas. City bylaws require hourly disinfection of items that can be touched too often such as handrails, benches and the installation of contactless disinfection dispensers in these spaces.

The Dubai Municipality has also banned pool bars and the use of common pool items such as goggles, shower caps, snorkels and towels. Guests using the pools must bring their own personal use items.

There is a general guideline that people use the communal pool for no more than two hours.

How to protect yourself while swimming

Make sure you don’t enter a crowded pool. Maintain a distance of two meters from the next swimmer.

If someone is coughing, turn their head away.

Carry your personal use items such as towels, shower caps, earplugs; avoid using common items

In indoor swimming pools, check with the authorities about hygiene protocols and check the date and time of pool cleaning.

Avoid using public places such as showers, changing rooms and lockers.

It is best to reserve your bathing time with the relevant authorities in your building or hotel, preferably swimming with your family where you are sure of their vaccination status and their state of health.

Going by appointment will prevent you from any unknown user.

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