Kuwait, Qatar, UAE report new coronavirus cases

The number of coronavirus cases in the UAE has risen to 45 from 30, the Health Ministry said on Saturday, as other countries in the Gulf region also reported new infections.

Kuwait recorded three new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its infection tally to 61, while Qatar reported its 12th case, the health ministries in the two nations said on Saturday.

The virus, which was first recorded in China in December, has spread across the Gulf and beyond. Most cases in the Gulf states are among people who either travelled to Iran personally, or were infected by people who had visited the Islamic Republic.

The UAE, a major air transit centre, business, and tourism hub, has advised citizens and residents against travelling abroad and all schools are closing for a month from Sunday.

Events across the country have also been cancelled or postponed, while some sports, such as horse racing and soccer, are going ahead without any fans in attendance.

Saudi Arabia has closed its land borders with the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain, with an exception for commercial trucks, and is only permitting flights from those countries to three of its airports.

Dozens of Saudis have come forward after authorities called on Friday for people who had been in Iran during the last two weeks to inform officials, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday, citing the Health Ministry.

Iran has reported one of the highest death tolls from the coronavirus outside China, with 145 deaths reported up until Saturday.

Kuwait has suspended flights to and from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, and Sri Lanka for a week, and has banned the entry of foreigners who have been to those countries in the past two weeks. Reuters

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