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UAE confirms new coronavirus cases, Saudi suspends travel to Iran

UAE confirms new coronavirus cases, Saudi suspends travel to Iran

The UAE has so far reported a total of 13 cases of the virus, with three having fully recovered

The UAE confirmed two new cases of the coronavirus COVID19 on Saturday, after two additional cases were reported on Friday, according to the UAE’s ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP).

An Iranian couple visiting the UAE have been announced as the latest cases. The man, 70, whose health is “unstable”, is currently in the intensive care (ICU), the ministry said.

While screening all those who were in contact with him, his 64-year wife also tested positive for the infection, the ministry said.

The UAE has so far reported a total of 13 cases of the virus, with three having fully recovered, WAM reported.

The two new cases reported on Friday include a 34-year-old Filipino and a 39-year-old Bangladeshi.

“Their condition is stable,” the ministry said.

According to MOHAP, the two new cases had close contact with the recently confirmed case of the Chinese citizen.

The ministry said it was screening everyone in close contact with the confirmed cases to “avert spreading of the disease and ensure the safety of the community.”

It has also been taking all the necessary preventive measures, the ministry added.

“The public is also advised to adopt protective health behaviour to avoid infectious diseases, including washing their hands with soap and clean water, and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to stop the spread of germs and viruses,” the statement said.

According to the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) situation report, COVID-19 has continued its rapid spread internationally, with Lebanon and Israel reporting their first cases. In total, over 77,794 confirmed cases have been reported globally, including 1,402 outside China in 28 countries.

Iran has reported 18 cases, four of whom have died.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia suspended its citizens and expatriate residents from travelling to Iran on the coronavirus fears. Expat travellers who have been in Iran will only be allowed to enter the kingdom after the 14-day incubation period, officials announced.

Saudi has already banned all travel to China.

Read: Saudi Arabia suspends travel to China on coronavirus fears

The surge in coronavirus cases and deaths in Iran is raising concern because the outbreak can’t be traced directly back to China, the head of the WHO has said.

The cases, which suggest rapid spread in a country outside of the epidemic’s centre in China, are “very worrisome,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters Friday at a press briefing in Geneva. The window of opportunity to stop the spread in countries outside the place where it began is “really narrowing,” he said. “This outbreak could go in any direction.”

Health experts are racing to limit new cases outside China, where severe quarantine measures are in place.

Tedros said the WHO is getting information from Iranian authorities, “but we have to engage them even more.”

“The concern is that we’re seeing a very rapid increase in a matter of days,” said Sylvie Briand, director of global infectious hazard preparedness at the WHO.

With inputs from Bloomberg

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