By Gavin Gibbon
Testing has been key component in containing spread of coronavirus
The UAE and Bahrain have become the world's first countries with populations over one million to hit a 50 percent testing rate for Covid-19.
The milestone figure means that scientists in the two GCC nations can more accurately analyse the spread of the pandemic with access to a greater level of infection data per capita than anywhere else in the world.
So far, only countries with small population sizes such as Monaco (38,000 pop.), Gibraltar (33k pop.) and the Falkland Islands (3k pop.) have succeeded in testing half of their residents and citizens.
The UK, meanwhile, has achieved a testing rate of 24.9 percent while the US stands at 18.6 percent.
After the UAE (52.7 percent) and Bahrain (50.3 percent), Denmark (27.7 percent) will be the next country to reach the benchmark figure followed by Singapore (25.2 percent).
Testing has played a major part in the Covid-19 containment strategy for nations across the GCC, with all confirmed cases quarantined and treated.
In Bahrain, public buses have been converted into mobile testing units and citizens summoned for tests at random, while early interventions included screenings at entry points and restrictions on travel from high-risk areas. The island kingdom has also used multilingual robots on isolation wards to check body temperatures, administer medicines, serve meals and sterilise treatment rooms with beams of ultraviolet light.
All confirmed cases are quarantined and treated, with those unable to maintain social distancing at home accommodated in quarantine centres.
As an additional precaution, those entering the Kingdom are required to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival.
In the UAE, police have deployed smart helmets capable of scanning temperatures of hundreds of people every minute.
Both Bahrain and the UAE lead much of the world in testing rates, ranking fifth and seventh respectively globally for rate of tests per million people.
It comes after research suggested that the Covid-19 recovery rate in GCC countries was significantly higher than the global average. An average of 75 percent of cases have recovered in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman – well above the global figure of 57 percent.
In the UAE alone, it was announced earlier this week that the recovery rate among patients stands at 90 percent.