Healthcare staff walking outside the lobby of the Crowne Plaza hotel at Yas Island Abu Dhabi. AFP
The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH-Abu Dhabi) affirmed that laboratory tests conducted on 167 cases of those quarantined over the coronavirus, COVID-19, announced on Thursday, have returned negative. In a statement the DoH-AD said, "It is still monitoring the condition of the remaining cases of contacts, whose lab test findings will be available within the next few hours."
Cyclists including Britain's Chris Froome were awaiting the results of coronavirus tests from their hotel lockdown on Friday, after the UAE Tour was abandoned when two Italian staff members tested positive.
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council's decision to cancel the race comes as the virus rapidly spreads across the wider Middle East, with over 370 confirmed cases.
The Higher Organising Committee has cancelled the remaining stages of the 2020 UAE tour after two Italian staff members of one of the teams participating in the UAE tour had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19.
"The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the race's participants," said the Higher Organising Committee, adding that "safety comes at the top of all priorities."
It said the United Arab Emirates health ministry would screen all the race's participants, administrative staff and organisers, and adopt measures "including quarantine" to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DoH-AD), has taken all necessary measures to ensure the good health and safety of guests at two hotels, presumed to be contacts of two Italian nationals who tested positive for novel Coronavirus disease, COVID-19.
The DoH-AD applied precautionary quarantine in two hotels in Yas Island, while other contacts were confined to home quarantine to undergo medical investigations and periodic testing for 14 days.
The two Italian patients are currently receiving necessary medical care and they are under continuous observation.
The Department said it had been making all necessary arrangements, in coordination with other authorities, in terms of medical materials and early warning systems, to detect suspected cases of Coronavirus.
"It's a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first," tweeted Froome, a four-time winner of the Tour de France.
"We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren't any further cases #coronavirus."
A total of 24 Italian cyclists started the race in the UAE. Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe, with 650 people infected and 17 deaths.
Italy's Vini Zabu-KTM team said its riders had been tested already.
"Tomorrow morning we will know the results. It's gonna be a long night and we hope that everyone will come back home without any trouble," it said in a statement on Twitter.
Britain's Adam Yates, who had led the overall race after Thursday's fifth stage, was declared winner of the event after the final two stages fell victim to the coronavirus outbreak.
Second was Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia with Kazak Alexey Lutsenko third.
"The final two days of racing are cancelled due to concerns around Coronavirus," Yates's Mitchelton team tweeted on Thursday.
"Riders and staff remain in the hotel and will be tested shortly, with their health taking priority. We hope anyone affected makes a fast recovery."
The UAE government announced that 170 people had recovered from COVID-19 after receiving the necessary care, bringing the total number of recoveries to 588. Following additional testing of over 20,000 people in the past few days, 376 individuals were confirmed positive, bringing the total number of cases to 3,736.
The ministry also announced that the total number of recovered cases of COVID-19 has reached 680 with 92 cases fully recovered.
The total number of coronavirus cases in the UAE is now 74, while 12 people have already recovered.
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