GCC coronavirus update: Total cases reach 634

World Health Organization repeats call for ‘urgent and aggressive action’ as coronavirus spreads to 114 countries.

Qatar

Qatar has jumped 238 new cases of the coronavirus today, detected in expatriates who contracted the virus after coming in contact with the three infected patients announced earlier this week, Al Jazeera reported.

All 238 patients with the coronavirus contracted the disease after coming in contact with the three residents residing in the same housing compound, according to Qatar’s health ministry.

“The Ministry of Public Health clarifies that the new cases that have been registered are those who were subject to quarantine as a precautionary measure since the discovery of the infected three arrivals”. But as of Tuesday the total number of cases was 24.

Qatar has temporarily banned entry of people coming from India and 13 other nations in the wake of coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.The temporary ban will also be applicable on people coming from Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand. The government announced on Monday, the suspension of classes in public and private schools and universities until further notice.

Kuwait

Kuwait will be suspending all commercial flights to and from Kuwait International Airport from Friday until further notice, state news agency KUNA reported.

“Flight arrivals are restricted to Kuwaitis and their first degree relatives, with the exception of cargo planes,” KUNA said in a tweet.

Kuwait has confirmed three new coronavirus cases bringing the total to 72, according to a health ministry spokesman. One of the new cases is associated with recent travel to Iran. The other two are Sudan and Egypt nationals who had come into contact with an infected person connected to recent travel to Azerbaijan. There have been 6,620 screenings and 916 people are in quarantine as of Wednesday, reports Dubai based channel Al Arabiya.

Kuwaiti authorities have also extended the shutdown of all schools, governmental and private universities as well as military colleges for until March 26. Kuwait will also ban all gatherings at restaurants and cafes, including shopping malls, according to the state news agency.

United Arab Emirates

In UAE, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) on Tuesday announced five new COVID-19 recoveries, taking the total number of recovered cases to 17. Earlier on Tuesday, the ministry had announced 14 new cases of coronavirus, taking to 74 the total number of infections in the country.

Companies in the UAE are imposing a 14-day self-quarantine on employees who have travelled to countries affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus and few organisations have also announced flexible working hours for their employees. There is a temporary closure of schools, universities and nurseries and year end examinations have also been canceled in schools. All UAE schools, universities are likely to implement e-learning until June 2020.

Dubai’s flagship international art fair Art Dubai, scheduled for this month, has also been postponed.

The UAE’s Sharia Council has issued a fatwa prohibiting those suspected of contracting coronavirus from attending congregational prayers, Friday prayer and being in public places, reports Gulf News. The fatwa also made it allowable for senior citizens, minors and those who suffer from respiratory diseases and weak immune system not to attend congregational prayers and to perform acts of worship at home rather than at mosques.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia had banned travel to nine countries on Sunday, which has been extended to five more countries on Monday, restricting 14 countries – France, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Oman, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Italy, South Korea, and Syria. The Saudi Ministry of Health on Tuesday night revealed a new case of the coronavirus has been discovered in the Kingdom. It brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 21.The patient is an Egyptian man who was passing through King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah on the way to Cairo from New York.

Saudi Arabia has also reopened two of the most holy religious sites in Islam in Mecca and Medina, after they were closed for sterilization to halt the spread of the new coronavirus, state TV Al Ekhbariya reported on Friday. Saudi Arabia has closed the sites to foreign pilgrims and traditional tourists to stop the spread of the virus.

Bahrain

A total of 77 Bahrain citizens evacuated from Iran tested positive for coronavirus, the health minister said on Wednesday, bringing the total to 189. Out of the total cases, 30 have recovered. Bahrain Ministry of Health evacuated 165 citizens from coronavirus hit Iran on Tuesday, bringing them back to Bahrain on a chartered plane. They were immediately tested upon arrival and all evacuees were placed in quarantine as a precautionary measure. Another plane full of evacuees is expected to arrive in Bahrain on Thursday, according to the health ministry.

Oman

Oman’s civil aviation authority announced on Saturday the suspension of all non-scheduled flights with Egypt for a month starting from March 8, as part of the Sultanate’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Entry ban for nationals of China, Iran and Italy has also been initiated (this does not apply to individuals with valid residence permit and returning to Oman).Passengers who have been to these countries in the past 14 days are also not allowed to enter Oman.

Oman’s Ministry of Health has confirmed 16 cases of coronavirus cases as of Saturday. Fifteen cases are related to travel to Iran, and one related to travel to Italy. https://twitter.com/OmaniMOH/status/1235568178501234692?s=20

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