Coronavirus hits all GCC countries: Iran travel link, figures and measures taken
The coronavirus, which originated in China and was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization on January 30, has since infected over 90,000 people worldwide, spreading across every continent except Antarctica, and claimed the lives of more than 3,000 so far.
The Gulf region has recently seen an accelerated rate of infections, with Iran at the epicenter, reporting 66 deaths, the highest outside of China, and 1,501 cases of coronavirus as of March 2.
This has pushed several countries to suspend flights and most of its neighbors to close their borders, especially after several neighboring countries started registering coronavirus cases relating to travel from Iran.
However, despite the precautionary measures put in place, all GCC countries reported coronavirus cases and all them had cases in people traveling from Iran.
Here are the latest facts:
First coronavirus case confirmed on March 2, a Saudi national who entered the Kingdom from Iran through Bahrain and did not disclose that he had been in Iran recently.
The health ministry said on March 1 it had prepared 25 hospitals and 8,000 beds to handle any coronavirus cases.
The foreign ministry announced on February 27 the temporary suspension of entry for individuals seeking to perform Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca or visiting the Prophet's Mosque in Madina, as well as tourists traveling from countries where the coronavirus poses a risk as determined by the Kingdom’s health authorities.
Those countries are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macau, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.
The foreign ministry announced on March 2 that it evacuated its citizens from Iran in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.
The health ministry reported on March 1 a total of 21 coronavirus cases in the country, five of them “cured”.
The education ministry announced on February 29 the suspension of all school extracurricular activities and field trips until further notice, as well as the closure of nurseries.
The country banned travel to Iran and Thailand on February 24 and warned against travel to China on January 24.
The Federal Authority for Land and Maritime Transport (FTA) suspended on February 27 ferry services with Iran until further notice, and obliged all commercial vessels coming into the country to present a statement of health condition for their crews, 72 hours ahead of arrival.
The UAE was the first Gulf country to confirm a coronavirus case on January 29.
The health ministry confirmed 49 cases in the country as of March 2, the majority of them arrived from Iran.
The health ministry had said on February 26 it will test all citizens and residents who had traveled to Iran during the month of February.
The country banned travel to and from Iran on February 24.
The health ministry confirmed 56 cases in the country as of March 2, the majority of them arrived from Iran or had been in contact with people who had been there.
The health ministry said on March 1 it will test all travelers coming from Egypt and Syria via all airlines for the coronavirus both upon departure from the two countries and arrival in Kuwait.
Kuwait’s civil aviation authority stopped on February 21 all flights to and from Iran. It also banned entry of travelers coming from Iran.
The foreign ministry banned on March 2 entry of all visitors from countries where coronavirus has spread without specifying which ones.
The health ministry reported six cases of the virus in the country as of March 1, one of them “fully recovered”, and all of which involve travelers who came from Iran.
The civil aviation authority suspended on March 1 all Italian tourism flights to its Salala airport for a month.
The civil aviation authority suspended on February 24 all civilian flights between the Sultanate and Iran.
The health ministry confirmed seven cases in the country as of March 2, most of them arrived from Iran.
Qatar Airways announced on February 24 that it would quarantine any passengers arriving from Iran and South Korea who show symptoms of the coronavirus.