Coronavirus cases rise in UAE and Qatar: ministries

FILE PHOTO: A man wears a protective face mask, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, as he walks at the Grand Souq in old Dubai, United Arab Emirates March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Christopher Pike

DUBAI (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus cases in the United Arab Emirates has risen to 45 from 30, the health ministry said on Saturday.

Qatar also reported its 12th case of the virus, a Qatari national who had visited Iran, its health ministry said.

The virus, that was first recorded in China in December, has spread across the Gulf region and beyond.

The United Arab Emirates, a major air transit centre, business and tourism hub, has advised citizens and residents against travelling abroad and all schools are closing for a month from Sunday.

Events across the country have also been cancelled or postponed, while some sports, such as horse racing and soccer, are going ahead behind closed doors without any fans in attendance.

Saudi Arabia has closed it land borders with the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain with the exception for commercial trucks, and is only permitting flights from those countries to three of its airports.

Kuwait has suspended flights to and from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka for a week, and has banned the entry of foreigners who have been to those countries in the past two weeks.

Reporting by Hesham Abdul Khalek and Nayera Abdallah, writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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