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02 Mar 2020 | 03:24 AM UTC

UAE: COVID-19 cases rise to 23 as of March 2 /update 6

Some 23 COVID-19 cases confirmed on March 2 as authorities warn against use of masks; follow authority directives

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Event

As of Monday, March 2, there are 23 confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the UAE. Amid the ongoing outbreak, authorities have suspended nursery school classes and scaled back other school activities. On Saturday, February 29, the Ministry of Health warned UAE residents against wearing N95 masks as a preventative measure, indicating that the use of masks may impose pressure on a wearer's respiratory system, potentially causing respiratory diseases. The government has strictly forbidden the use of masks for children. Authorities also canceled the 2020 UAE Tour cycling race after two Italian participants tested positive for COVID-19.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Individuals in the UAE are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate further transportation disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities. Those traveling via DBX are advised to contact their airlines for more information.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue; throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.