UAE confirms first case of coronavirus to hit the Middle East

UAE confirms first case of coronavirus to hit the Middle East
Emirati authorities told its citizens not to panic after it confirmed the first case of the deadly Coronavirus to hit the country.
3 min read
29 January, 2020
The coronavirus has spread to 11 countries [Getty]

The potentially-deadly coronavirus has reached the Middle East, with the UAE confirming the first case in the region on Wednesday.

Abu Dhabi has confirmed the first case of the deadly coronavirus in the region, saying that doctors were treating a family-of-four that had come from a Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak.

The UAE's ministry of health said on Wednesday it had diagnosed the coronavirus in a Chinese family in the Gulf state.

The diagnosed people were in stable condition and under medical observation, the ministry said in a statement provided to the state news agency WAM.

"It is not a cause for concern," the ministry assured the public.

"We advise all citizens and residents to adhere to the general health guidelines," they said.

The statement added that authorities have taken "all the necessary precautions in accordance with the scientific recommendations, conditions, and standards approved by the World Health Organisation".

Read More: Stop Uighur internment camps or take the Olympics away from China

It is the first case of coronavirus to be confirmed in the Middle East, a disease which has killed more than 130 people in China according to official statistics from the virus' country of origin.

However, that number is likely to be higher, and the virus is spreading. Nearly 6,000 cases have been confirmed from over 11 countries.

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday there were no cases of coronavirus in the kingdom, denying reports of an Indian woman who had tested positive for the deadly SARS-like infection.

India's minister of state for external affairs had earlier said that an Indian nurse working at a hospital in southwestern Saudi Arabia had contracted the virus and was being treated.

The Saudi Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has denied the report, saying in a tweet that there have been no reported cases of the novel coronavirus.

Indonesian man being screened for the virus [Getty]

A separate statement from the kingdom's health ministry said the Indian nurse was being treated for an infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Reuters reported.

"The ministry has taken all the precautionary measures to deal with this global issue and is in close coordination with all concerned entities," the statement read.

Stock markets panic

On Monday, Middle Eastern stocks have fallen as the outbreak spread across the world.

Out of all of the Gulf states, Saudi stocks fell the most. Its state Aramco oil facilities plummeted to its lowest trading level on closing basis since its listing in Riyadh during the session. Its shares dropped by 0.4 percent to 34.30 riyals.

The UAE also suffered with Dubai's main index dropping 0.6 percent, and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index declined 0.3 oercent, Bloomberg reported.

Kuwait's stock market fell by 0.5 percent whilst the QE Index in Doha dropped 0.4 percent as a result of the disease.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud said the kingdom has been closely monitoring developments in the global oil market and put down the trough in oil prices has been spurred by "psychological factors".

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