UAE raises virus cases to 45, new cases from 9 nationalities

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported 15 additional cases yesterday of a new and fast-spreading virus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 45.

The Health Ministry said 13 of the new cases recently arrived from abroad, and they include three Emirati citizens, two Saudis, two Ethiopians and two Iranians, as well as a person each from Thailand, China, Morocco and India.

The statement gave no further details on where the travellers had come, when they had arrived to the UAE and which ports of entry they had come in from.

The other two cases, an Emirati and an Egyptian, were diagnosed after being monitored in connection with a cycling tour in the country that was halted a week ago after two Italians were first confirmed as having the virus.

The UAE is a major tourist destination and most of its residents are foreigners. The emirate of Dubai is also home to the world’s busiest airport for international travel.

To stymie the spread of the virus, the UAE suspended schools, nurseries and universities for a month. It also stopped flights to Iran, one of the hardest-hit countries by the new coronavirus, and limited flights to China.

Authorities urged residents and citizens not to take unnecessary trips abroad, and to expect screenings and possible quarantines upon return. Like other countries around the world, the UAE cancelled major art, sporting and business events.