UAE reports six new coronavirus cases, total up to 27

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Six new cases of the coronavirus were detected in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, state news agency WAM reported citing the country’s health authorities.

UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention said the six cases include two people from Russia, two from Italy, one from Germany, and one from Colombia. The patients were connected to the two previously announced cases associated with the cycling event, the UAE Tour.

The six new coronavirus infections take the tally of confirmed cases in the country to 27.

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MoHAP confirmed that the cases are being monitored, and individuals are currently in a stable condition and are receiving all necessary health care required.

“The total number of coronavirus cases has reached 27,” the ministry affirmed, adding that five of the total number of cases were previously reported to have fully recovered.

In its statement, the ministry noted that “all individuals within the two quarantined hotels that had no direct contact with athletes and their administrative teams were examined, and that those that tested negative for the coronavirus were allowed to leave the hotel premises.”

Individuals currently quarantined will be “re-examined and tested for the virus to ensure their utmost safety,” MoHAP continued, adding that disinfection and sterilization procedures will be carried out for all buildings, utilities and vehicles.

The UAE Ministry affirmed it “continues to adhere to principles of transparency in its dealings with all cases related to the emergence of COVID-19 since its outbreak in China.”

It also noted that all concerned authorities in the UAE have joined forces to monitor the situation, and prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

MoHAP assured that medical facilities have been equipped with all the necessary medical equipment and supplies to provide care and take all measures required to deal with COVID-19, including airborne infection isolation rooms, following World Health Organization, (WHO), standards.

The health ministry has been calling both citizens and residents who have recently returned from time abroad to check up on their health and asked them if they have been exhibiting any symptoms of the coronavirus.

A recent traveler who returned from India received a call from a health ministry worker asking about his health and urging him to visit a clinic should he show any symptoms. The calls are part of the country’s precautionary measures against the spread of the coronavirus.

The UAE was the first Middle Eastern country to report a case of coronavirus on January 29. A family of four arriving from the virus’s epicenter Wuhan, China, were diagnosed by Emirati doctors.

While heightened fears of the virus in the UAE have led to a shortage of face masks, experts have cautioned against panic.

“At this point, unless you are in China you are much more at risk of being infected with influenza than with this new virus,” said Joseph Eisenberg, chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Tourists wearing surgical masks are pictured on a beach next to Burj Al Arab in Dubai on January 29 2020. (AFP)
Tourists wearing surgical masks are pictured on a beach next to Burj Al Arab in Dubai on January 29 2020. (AFP)

On Monday, the UAE evacuated its citizens from Iran as part of the country’s efforts to confront the spread of the coronavirus, according to WAM.

Last Friday, the UAE Tour’s two remaining stages have been canceled after coronavirus cases were confirmed in event staff members. Several other cultural and sporting events have also been canceled.

In a related development, the UAE’s central bank will reassess its forecast for growth in 2020 to take into account the impact of coronavirus, according to Magda Kandil, the head of the research and statistics department at the central bank.

Schools closed in the UAE

The UAE Education Ministry announced on Tuesday that schools and higher education institutions would close for four weeks, starting on Sunday.

The announcement brings forward the spring vacation. The ministry also launched a program for sanitizing educational institutions.

The news is set to cause major disruption to families in the country, following an earlier announcement that nurseries would also be closed.

Check out our dedicated coronavirus site here.

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