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Concerned by coronavirus outbreak, UAE advises against travel abroad

Two women wear a medical mask as a precaution against coronavirus in Baghdad, Iraq on February 25, 2020. [Murtadha Al-Sudani - Anadolu Agency]
Two women wear a medical mask as a precaution against coronavirus in Baghdad, Iraq on February 25, 2020.[Murtadha Al-Sudani - Anadolu Agency]

The United Arab Emirates on Thursday urged its citizens and other residents to avoid travelling abroad because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports.

Authorities in the Gulf state, which has reported at least 27 coronavirus cases, may order medical checks on travellers when they return and ask them to stay in isolation at home for 14 days, state news agency WAM said, citing a health ministry statement.

The UAE is closing schools and educational institutions for four weeks on March 8, and students and education workers will have to spend a compulsory two weeks at home after returning from overseas.

In neighbouring Saudi Arabia, authorities said on Thursday three new cases of the disease were recorded, increasing the total of infections to five.

The Saudi government said the three new individuals with coronavirus returned from Iran via Bahrain and Kuwait but did not disclose their travel details to authorities.

Coronavirus: Egypt bans entry of Qatar citizens in ‘reciprocal’ measure

The kingdom banned traveling to Iran and said legal actions will be taken against any Saudi national traveling there. Riyadh also called on Tehran to disclose the identity of Saudi citizens who visited Iran since Feb. 1.

Iran, which has emerged as an epicenter for the disease in the Middle East, has reported 107 deaths from the virus on March 5, putting it on a par with Italy as the country with the highest death toll outside China.

The kingdom, which suspended umrah pilgrimage in the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina on Wednesday, added more restrictions on access to the two holy mosques, banning overnight visitors.

The administration of the two mosques also banned food and beverage in the holy sites and shut off zamzam water taps, pumped from a holy well.

READ: Bethlehem in lockdown following suspected cases of coronavirus

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