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GCC health ministers convene to discuss measures against coronavirus

GCC health ministers convene to discuss measures against coronavirus

The GCC Communicable Diseases Committee also held an emergency meeting on January 29 to explore cooperation mechanisms

Health ministers from the Gulf states convened in the Saudi capital of Riyadh to discuss growing concerns over the new coronavirus, that has so far claimed over 2,000 lives, official news agency WAM reported.

The ministers confirmed that all precautionary measures were being taken to ensure cross-border preparedness against the virus.

The preventive measures were in line with the international health regulations (2005) approved by the World Health Organisation, and in implementation of the Unified Health Procedures Manual in GCC countries, a statement said.

The Gulf health ministers also commended the UAE’s measures against the epidemic after having kept suspected Arab nationals within its territories for the required quarantine time before permitting them to return to their respective countries.

The meeting reviewed the current situation and respective protocols in each country, related statistics, and contingency plans.

The meet followed the WHO’s announcement on Sunday, February 16, confirming a total of nine cases of Covid-19 in the Eastern Mediterranean region, the statement said.

The GCC Communicable Diseases Committee also held an emergency meeting on January 29 to explore cooperation mechanisms, recommending protocols such as screening of arrivals at airports and increasing public awareness.

Since the outbreak of the virus, the UAE has confirmed nine cases, of which three have fully recovered.

Read: UAE confirms ninth coronavirus case

Meanwhile, Oman dismissed media reports this week that had claimed that coronavirus cases had been reported in the sultanate.

Also read: Oman dismisses media reports, says no coronavirus case in the sultanate

In a bid to contain the epidemic, Saudi Arabia has suspended travel to China for its citizens and residents.

Read more: Saudi Arabia suspends travel to China on coronavirus fears

Across the wider region, two Iranian citizens who had tested positive for the coronavirus died, a Health Ministry official told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. 

The two patients were elderly residents of Qom, IRNA reported. Investigations are underway.

The virus, which originated in China, has claimed 2,118 lives, with the number of confirmed cases at 74,576.

 

With inputs from Bloomberg

 

 

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