DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday has suspended all cargo and commercial flights to and from Iran for one week over the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
The decision, which could be up for extension, was a precautionary measure undertaken by the UAE to ensure strict monitoring and prevention of the spread of the new coronavirus, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority said.
Dubai has been screening passengers on incoming flights from China, where the outbreak began. Long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad are among the few international airlines.
UAE authorities earlier also called on citizens to avoid travel to Thailand ‘until further notice’ as a precaution against the virus outbreak.
Iraqi health officials on Tuesday banned the entry of travelers coming from Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Italy and Singapore.
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Iraq reported their first cases of the China coronavirus on Monday as Gulf countries moved to stop an outbreak in Iran from spreading.
Kuwait on Tuesday said diagnosed cases have risen to eight, including two female passengers arriving from the Iranian city of Mashhad, a 53-year-old Kuwaiti man, a 61-year-old Saudi citizen, and a 21-year-old stateless Arab.
The country also banned flights to and from Iraq, Italy, South Korea, and Thailand, according to Kuwait's state news agency, KUNA.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health said it was coordinating with Kuwaiti health authorities to treat the Saudi national, adding that the patient would remain in Kuwait until they were cured.
Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Kuwait said the condition of the Saudi citizen is stable and he is in no danger.
The statement also called on citizens to follow the instructions issued by the Kuwaiti health ministry and contact the embassy in the event of an emergency.
Bahrain said two people had the virus diagnosed after arriving from Iran and travelling through Dubai.
The first patient “was transferred to the Ebrahim Khalil Kanoo Medical Centre for immediate testing, treatment and isolation under the supervision of a specialized medical team,” Bahrain News Agency said. The school bus driver, had worked on Sunday, dropping off children at schools, that were later closed down.
The second patient, a Bahraini woman was examined as she arrived at Bahrain International Airport having traveled through Dubai. Her husband and her sister-in-law, who were traveling with her, tested negative for the virus but were also placed in quarantine.
Bahrain also suspended flights to and from Dubai International Airport and Sharjah International Airport for 48 hours, Bahrain News Agency said early Tuesday.
Oman’s health ministry said its first two cases are Omani women who had visited Iran. Oman TV said the women were in a stable condition, it added.
Oman suspended flights to and from Iran, the Public Authority of Civil Aviation (PACA) said.
At least 250 people arriving from countries affected by coronavirus were quarantined on suspicion of infection, Oman’s Minister of Health Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Saidi said.
Iraq, which on Monday also reported its first case of the virus, has shut its Safwan border crossing with Kuwait to travelers and trade at Kuwait's request, the local mayor said on Monday.
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The outbreak in Iran forced the government there to dismiss one lawmaker’s claim the toll could be as high as 50.
The cases have prompted travel bans from nearby countries trying to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Last week, Kuwait banned entry of all ships from the Islamic republic and suspended flights to and from the country.
Kuwait also banned non-citizens coming from Iran from entering the Gulf state and operated chartered flights to bring back hundreds of Kuwaiti Shiite pilgrims.
Around a third of Kuwait’s 1.4 million citizens are Shiites, who travel regularly to Iran to visit religious shrines. Kuwait also hosts roughly 50,000 Iranian workers.
Over half of Bahrain's population are Shiites, who also travel frequently to Iran.
The UAE has already announced 13 cases of the coronavirus, all of them foreigners. The latest were a 70-year-old Iranian man, whose condition is unstable, and his 64-year-old wife.
UAE airlines have suspended most flights to China – where the virus first emerged in December – except to the capital Beijing. Around half a million Iranians live and work in the UAE.
Saudi Arabia remains free of the virus, but has suspended flights to China.
Qatar Airways said on Monday that people arriving from Iran and South Korea would be asked to stay in home isolation or a quarantine facility for 14 days.