The total number of coronavirus cases in the UAE has reached 21, after two Italian support staff in the UAE Tour cycling event tested positive for the illness. Over 600 people, including four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, were quarantined in the W Hotel and Crowne Plaza Hotel on Yas Island while the health ministry conducted tests to screen for the virus. The Ministry has since successfully curbed and managed the outbreak through with a strategic set of robust measures to ensure that will work to minimise the impact of the outbreak in the region.
It’s a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first. We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren’t any further cases #coronavirus— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) February 27, 2020
The UAE’s Minister of Health and Prevention, Abdul Rahman bin Mohammad Al Owais stated that “The two cases that were reported in cycling competition were actually from the accompanying supporting technicians and not cyclists. Their interactions with the public was very limited.” The 400 people screened so far in relation to the UAE Tour have all tested negative for Covid-19.
The six newly confirmed cases, who have been screened through the ministry’s ongoing early reporting system#coronavirus#covid19#mohap_uae pic.twitter.com/xTzJBKx09I— وزارة الصحة ووقاية المجتمع الإماراتية - MOHAP UAE (@mohapuae) February 27, 2020
As part of a series of preventative measures, authorities have temporarily shut down nurseries and kindergartens for a 14-day period. School trips, both domestic and international, have been banned. Large-scale public events in general are being cancelled or postponed - ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, has been rescheduled from its original date in March. In the Middle East, Iran is experiencing the highest number of coronavirus fatalities, estimated to be around 200 at last count. The UAE plans to evacuate its citizens from Iran and has two planes on standby.
Lead image courtesy of Markus Spiske on Unsplash