The ongoing Pandemic of the highly contagious respiratory disease COVID-19 Pandemic is threatening global health . The novel coronavirus is structurally related to the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The presence of pneumonia led to the identification of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and close monitoring of the virus suggested a mean incubation period of 5 days . So far, it has appeared in a few variants such as Delta and Omicron and these make several countries jittery and unsure of what to do. The reactions are knee-jerk and involves locking out travel to the countries where they first detected the variant.
COVID-19 Pandemic spreads via the respiratory secretions of infected persons when they cough or sneeze, especially in poorly ventilated or crowded places. COVID-19 Pandemic is a highly infectious disease. However, most infected people recover without special treatment. Notwithstanding, older people and those with chronic disease conditions such as diabetes or respiratory infections are more likely to develop severe symptoms and higher mortality . The global mortality rate is about 2% .
No medicine is currently available to treat COVID-19 Pandemic even though various clinical trials are taking place to evaluate potential treatments. However, supportive healthcare interventions are available to hospitalized patients. It means that infection prevention and vaccines areas are the only way to control the Pandemic. The best way to prevent and slow virus transmission is to ensure people are well informed about COVID-19 Pandemic, understand how it spreads, are aware of the basic preventive measures, in addition to the global rollout of vaccinations”. The simple daily actions that can help prevent the spread of the virus include social distancing, wearing a face mask, washing hands or using alcohol-based sanitizers, and staying home when experiencing any symptoms to avoid spreading the virus to others.
1.1 Burden of COVID-19 PANDEMIC
COVID-19 Pandemic has negatively affected many sectors of the economy, including health, business, education, aviation, tourism, and others. The study that explored differences in the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo reported that COVID-19 Pandemic had had a significantly more adverse effect on the economy than the Ebola virus disease despite the lower mortality rate of COVID-19 Pandemic . This economic impact is attributed to factors such as implementing preventive measures (social distancing, curfews), which mean that people spend less time in social spots, including cafés and restaurants. Staff issues due to the virus have also adversely affected business owners, with staff morale affected by salary cuts and employment termination . Analysis of the impact of the Pandemic on small businesses in the United States reported that the economy declined by around 13.8 million from February to April 2020.
Preventive measures such as social distancing and lockdowns have also restricted the movement of people within and across countries. Increased demand for transport has resulted in higher fares and costs for transporting goods, which has been catastrophic for emerging economies such as Nigeria . During the second quarter of 2020, the use of transport dropped dramatically around the world. Commercial travel declined by 75% and shipping by almost 50% on average from 75% in mid-April 2020 . Travel restrictions also impacted tourism. It affected developed countries like those in Europe and less developed countries such as the Maldives or Seychelles, which experienced a massive loss of livelihoods .
The education sector also suffered adverse consequences from the Pandemic, including temporary school closures, which affected about 60% of students globally . All schools in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were closed temporarily, and new teaching methods such as online learning were introduced . The UAE Al Qassimi Foundation indicated that students, staff, and parents experienced high stress during this time . Working parents and students with special needs also faced significant difficulties with the new teaching/learning methods, although support was provided through, for example, free internet packages and tutorials .
1.2 Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Health Sector
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the healthcare sector has also impacted social relationships through fear of contracting an infection from other people, and people have been particularly anxious about losing family members to COVID-19 Pandemic . Limits on physical contact have caused distress for many people, especially those separated from loved ones or unable to leave foreign countries because of flight restrictions.
COVID-19 Pandemic has had an even more significant impact on hospitals and other healthcare facilities in general . For example, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, patients with chronic conditions and those requiring less urgent care have avoided visiting hospitals. It has, in turn, has resulted in hospitals sustaining financial losses . In response, hospitals have adopted better hygiene practices, including protecting healthcare workers and the effective handling and treatment of COVID-19 Pandemic and non-COVID-19 Pandemic patients. However, many hospitals have not sustained these practices, which has, in turn, increased the possibility of healthcare workers becoming infected with the COVID-19 Pandemic .
A study by Shaukat et al. noted that healthcare workers handling COVID-19 Pandemic cases are at an increased risk of negative impacts on their physical and mental health . Their scoping review found that the COVID-19 infection linked multiple factors, including working in high-risk areas and closely contacting patients (e.g., over 12 times per day for more than 15 hours). Furthermore, found common symptoms among healthcare workers include fever (85%), cough (70%), fatigue (70%), and skin damage (97%). In addition, healthcare workers experienced high levels of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress, with nurses and female healthcare workers being highly affected.
A study of healthcare workers in Saudi Arabia showed relatively little knowledge about the causative agent of the COVID-19 Pandemic (45%). However, their knowledge of COVID-19 Pandemic risk factors (close contact with infected people) and the use of antibiotics to treat the COVID-19 Pandemic was higher (97% and 63%, respectively) . The study also demonstrated that most healthcare workers (92%) were afraid of being carriers of the virus and potential sources of infection to their families. Accordingly, most of them cleaned their hands as often as they could (87%) and wore masks (71%). Given their exposure to patients, healthcare workers are at high risk of contracting the COVID-19 Pandemic. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that all healthcare workers acquire the appropriate knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) to reduce their potential from being infected by their patients.
The primary aim of this study was to identify the KAP of healthcare professionals handling the COVID-19 patients in the UAE. This information is essential as the KAP toward COVID-19 Pandemic adopted by healthcare workers affects their ability to treat and manage patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19.