Ministry declares one more case of coronavirus infection, sets up hotlines - GulfToday

Ministry declares one more case of coronavirus infection, sets up hotlines


Photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod / WAM / AFP

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention announced a new case of Coronavirus infection in the country, and added that the patient was stable and under medical care.

He arrived from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Since the outbreak of the disease in China, only five cases have so far been detected in the UAE, a fact that indicates the efficient system of surveillance in the country’s health sector.

Meanwhile, the UAE health authorities on Saturday jointly emphasised the need for the public to refrain from spreading unnecessary and unverified statements regarding circumstances and conditions concerning the new global pandemic, Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). It also released three hotlines through which everyone is encouraged to use “for any medical support or inquiry.”

The UAE health authorities in their joint communique, under the heading “What information sources are reliable?” stated: “We recommend that you receive the correct information from government health agencies and do not circulate information about diseases in general.”

Since Jan.29, Gulf Today has received several enquiries on the veracity of the entry of the 2019-nCoV. Whether the patients have been quarantined in the capital or the virus already in Sharjah.

This reporter also received claims that the patients had entered the country via Dubai and under treatment at Rashid Hospital.

China faced deepening isolation over its coronavirus epidemic on Saturday as the death toll soared to 259, with the United States and Australia leading a growing list of nations to impose extraordinary Chinese travel bans.

With Britain, Russia and Sweden among the countries confirming their first infections, the virus has now spread to more than two dozen nations, sending governments scurrying to limit their exposure.

The UAE Ministry of Health disclosed that the four cases detected earlier in a Chinese family were still under medical care. Their condition is stable. The ministry is taking all necessary precautions in coordination with other relevant health authorities in the country in order to ensure the safety of the citizens and residents.

The ministry pointed out that the number of cases detected in the UAE were very low and that there was no cause for concern, adding that the health care system in the country was strong enough to combat the disease. The UAE is adhering to WHO’s directives in dealing with the cases detected.

The ministry has called upon the public to rely on official sources for information and avoid giving heed to rumours, asking them to get information from approved media entities and official social media accounts.

China toughened its own quarantine measures at the centre of the outbreak in Hubei province, a day after the United States temporarily barred entry to foreigners who had been in China within the past two weeks.

“Foreign nationals, other than immediate family of US citizens and permanent residents... will be denied entry into the United States,” Health Secretary Alex Azar said.

Australia said it was barring entry to non-citizens arriving from China, while Australian citizens who had travelled there would be required to go into “self-isolation” for two weeks.

Vietnam suspended all flights from mainland China effective on Saturday. Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan also initially appeared on the list of banned routes but were later removed.

Similar expansive restrictions have been announced by countries including Italy, Singapore, and China’s northern neighbour Mongolia.

The United States, Japan, Britain, Germany and other nations had already advised their citizens not to travel to China.

Britain said on Saturday it was temporarily withdrawing some diplomatic staff and their families from across the country, a day after the US State Department ordered embassy employees to send home family members under the age of 21.

Beijing insists it can contain the virus and called Washington’s advice against travel to China “unkind.”

“Certainly it is not a gesture of goodwill,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

The US emergency declaration also requires Americans returning from Hubei province to be placed in mandatory 14-day quarantine, and health screening for American citizens coming from other parts of China.

The virus emerged in early December and has been traced to a market in Hubei’s capital Wuhan that sold wild animals.

It spread globally on the wings of a Lunar New Year holiday rush that sees hundreds of millions of Chinese people travel domestically and overseas.

The economic fallout continued on Saturday as Apple announced that all its China stores would be closed until Feb.9.

China’s central bank said it would offer financial support to businesses hit by the public health emergency.

With public anger mounting in China, Wuhan’s top official admitted late on Friday that authorities there had acted too slowly.

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