Last Update 22:21
Thursday, 16 September 2021

UAE raises virus cases to 45, new cases from 9 nationalities

AP , Saturday 7 Mar 2020

The United Arab Emirates reported 15 additional cases on Saturday of a new and fast-spreading virus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 45.

The Health Ministry said 13 of the new cases had recently arrived from abroad, and they include three Emirati citizens, two Saudis, two Ethiopians and two Iranians, as well as a person each from Thailand, China, Morocco and India.

The statement gave no further details on where the travelers had come, when they had arrived to the UAE and which ports of entry they had come in from.

The other two cases, an Emirati and an Egyptian, were diagnosed after being monitored in connection with a cycling tour in the country that was halted a week ago after two Italians were first confirmed as having the virus.

The UAE is a major tourist destination and most of its residents are foreigners. The emirate of Dubai is also home to the world's busiest airport for international travel.

To stymie the spread of the virus, the UAE has suspended schools, nurseries and universities for a month. It has also stopped flights to Iran, one of the hardest-hit countries by the new coronavirus, and limited flights to China.

Authorities have urged residents and citizens not to take unnecessary trips abroad, and to expect screenings and possible quarantines upon return. Like other countries around the world, the UAE has also cancelled major art, sporting and business events.

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, announced there would be no spectators for sports competitions and games starting Saturday in order to combat the spread of the virus. The kingdom has five confirmed cases, but has taken unprecedented measures against the virus' spread, including halting all pilgrimage in Mecca, Islam's holiest site.

The virus, which originated in China, has infected more than 100,000 people globally. More than 5,000 cases have been confirmed in the Middle East, with most of those in Iran.

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