Chinese family diagnosed with coronavirus were in UAE for a week

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Visitors and exhibitors wear masks at the Arab Health Exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP)
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Visitors and exhibitors wear masks at the Arab Health Exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP)
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A traveller wears a mask at the Dubai International Airport on Wednesday, Janaury 29, 2020. (Reuters)
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A man wears a mask as he visits the UAE Ministry stand during the Arab Health Exhibition in Dubai on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP)
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Travellers wear masks as they arrive at the Dubai International Airport. (Reuters)
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Temperature scanners are used to screen passengers for fever with upon their arrival at Kuwait international airport in Kuwait City on Wednesday, January 29, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Chinese family diagnosed with coronavirus were in UAE for a week

  • Patients’ health stable and under medical observation
  • General health situation not a cause for concern, ministry says

DUBAI: The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed Wednesday that four members of the same Chinese family in the Gulf state have been infected with coronavirus, and with an Emirati doctor saying the first to fall ill only showed symptoms after over a week on vacation.

Dr. Hussein al-Rand, an assistant undersecretary at the UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention, said there was no reason to panic over virus. However, he acknowledged Emirati officials now were tracing the family's steps since landing in this federation of seven sheikhdoms that includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“Their condition is stable, they are awake, they are all receiving all the measures,” al-Rand said. “I would say to the public: Please, don't be panicked. The health condition within the United Arab Emirates is safe.”




Travellers wear masks as they arrive at the Dubai International Airport in Dubai. (Reuters)

Among those sick in the family are a grandmother, her daughter, the daughter's husband and the couple's 9-year-old daughter, al-Rand said.

The family from Wuhan, the epicenter of the viral outbreak, entered the UAE on Jan. 16, al-Rand said.

Al-Rand declined to name the airline the family flew on and the airport at which they arrived.

Al-Rand also declined to say which cities they visited during their vacation.

Authorities at Abu Dhabi's airport and Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel, began screening passengers and crew from incoming China flights on Jan. 23.

That same day, Jan. 23, the grandmother among the family fell ill and sought medical care, Al-Rand said.

Public awareness about the virus had spread widely and doctors tested the grandmother for the new coronavirus and got a positive result. Authorities admitted the other three shortly after and they too tested positive.

By Wednesday the number of infected reached 5,974 cases in China alone, surpassing the number of infections during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, at 5,327.

 

But some experts believed the Wuhan virus figures could still be under-reported, making it far more contagious that SARS.

It is not clear when the family arrived in the UAE, or what airline or airport they came through.

Meanwhile Kuwait asked its nationals not to travel to Shanghai, according to the state news agency KUNA.

 

 

In a statement Emirates confirmed that all its passengers arriving from China, including flights from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, were being screened by the Dubai health authorities.

“We are in close contact with all relevant UAE and Chinese regulatory authorities, and are complying with their directives and guidance. We are also closely monitoring and implementing the guidance of the World Health Organisation, which currently does not advise any restrictions on travel.

“Our crew members are highly trained and will follow standard operating procedures to manage any suspected cases on board. For more information on passenger screening, please contact the Ministry of Health.”




A visitor wears a surgical mask while touring Dubai on Wednesday, January 29 2020. (AFP)

Meanwhile local press reports suggest that the sale of face masks has risen significantly, with some pharmacists currently out of stock.

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At least 34 Turkish soldiers killed during airstrikes in Idlib

Updated 57 min 44 sec ago

At least 34 Turkish soldiers killed during airstrikes in Idlib

LONDON: At least 34 Turkish soldiers were killed during airstrikes in Idlib on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. 

The airstrike took place in an area between the towns Baluon and Al-Bara in Idlib, and was a response to Syrian rebels backed by the Turkish military recapturing the strategic town of Saraqeb earlier on Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported on Thursday that Russian-backed government forces had seized full control of southern Idlib province after fresh advances against the rebels.

Government forces have seized about 60 towns and villages in the southern Idlib area and the adjoining province of Hama in the last three days, the Observatory said.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan chaired an emergency security meeting late on Thursday to evaluate the latest developments in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, two Turkish security sources said.

*With Reuters