UAE announces 15 new cases, more shut downs…

By Eudore R. Chand

UAE 18 March 2020: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP), announced 15 new cases of Covid-19, on Tuesday, bringing to 113 the total infection tally in the UAE.

“The new cases have been detected through the ministry’s early monitoring and reporting system and after examining those who had been in close contact with already confirmed cases in addition to individuals coming from abroad who had been all under quarantine,” said MoHaP in a statement.

“The newly confirmed cases are all in a stable condition and receiving all required healthcare services. They belong to different nationalities, including one individual each from Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, USA, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, and Bangladesh, in addition to two persons each from Britain and Spain,” added the ministry.

“All those in close contact with the confirmed cases are being screened to avert spreading of the disease and ensure public safety. Full coordination channels are maintained with all health and other concerned authorities in the country through a very effective epidemiological monitoring mechanism,” said the statement carried by Wam.

“All necessary precautions are being taken to ensure highly efficient preventive measures, including check-ups and observation of people in contact with the patients in line with the guidelines and standards of the World Health Organisation.”

The Ministry advised the public to adhere to preventative health and personal hygiene protocols to prevent the spread of the disease and to read the awareness instructions, available on its website and the official websites of health authorities in the UAE and refrain from spreading rumours.

“The public is also advised to adopt protective health behaviour to avoid infectious diseases, including washing their hands with soap and clean water, and covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to stop the spread of germs and viruses,” the statement added.

It also advised individuals suffering from respiratory symptoms to avoid crowded and public places to prevent transmission of the disease and protect lives.

Ministry of Culture’s centres shut down

The UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development announced on Tuesday that all its affiliated cultural centres will be shut down, and all cultural and theatre-based activities and events hosted in the country are to be postponed or put on hold beginning Wednesday, 18th March 2020, and until further notice.

In a statement, the ministry noted that the decision comes in line with the preventative and precautionary measures being undertaken by the UAE government to counter the spread of the new coronavirus, Covid-19, as well as recommendations by the World Health Organisation, WHO, to mitigate the pandemic.

It added that the closure includes all Ministry affiliated centres across Abu Dhabi, Al Dhafra, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Masafi, Dibba Al Fujairah and all public libraries associated to the Ministry.

UAE nationals abroad urged to return home

Due to the rapid outbreak of Covid-19, and the suspension of air flights with a number of countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MoFAIC, has urged Emiratis abroad to return to their homeland, as part of the precautionary measures taken by the UAE to ensure the safety of its citizens.

MoFAIC called on Emirati students and nationals receiving medical treatment overseas to communicate with UAE embassies in respective host countries for coordination in this respect.

The ministry urged UAE nationals to coordinate with the nearest UAE diplomatic missions overseas or with MoFAIC’s call centre on the following number: 80044444.

Emiratis abroad are also urged to register in Tawajudi through the ministry’s website and mobile application.

Seven new coronavirus cases in Kuwait

KUWAIT: Seven new cases of the novel Coronavirus, Covid-19, were discovered in Kuwait within the last 24 hours, bringing the total of infections to 130, the Kuwait News Agency quoted the Health Ministry as saying on Tuesday.

In a press conference, Health Ministry Spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad revealed that all newly announced cases were for Kuwaiti citizens returning from the UK.

Out of the 130 in total, 12 cases recovered and 118 are still receiving treatment, he pointed out.

Thailand reports 30 new coronavirus cases

BANGKOK: Thailand reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, raising the total to 177, Sukhum Kanchanaphimai, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health told a news conference.

Reuters quoted Sukhum as saying that eleven of the new cases are connected to a crowded boxing match that saw a large number of coronavirus cases, while other cases are those that worked closely with foreigners.

Most of the cases, 70 percent to 80 percent, in Thailand are recorded in Bangkok, he said.

Thailand has recorded one coronavirus fatality and 41 patients have recovered and returned home.

WHO calls for aggressive action as cases soar in South-East Asia

NEW DELHI: The World Health Organisation (WHO), today called on member states in South-East Asia Region to urgently scale-up aggressive measures to combat new coronavirus, Covid-19, as confirmed cases cross 480, and the disease claims eight lives.

“The situation is evolving rapidly. We need to immediately scale up all efforts to prevent the virus from infecting more people,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region.

Eight of the 11 countries of WHO South-East Asia Region have confirmed cases of Covid-19. Thailand has 177 confirmed cases, Indonesia 134, India 125, Sri Lanka 19, Maldives 13, Bangladesh 5, Nepal and Bhutan one each. These numbers are increasing quickly.

“More clusters of virus transmission are being confirmed. While this is an indication of an alert and effective surveillance, it also puts the spotlight on the need for more aggressive and whole of society efforts to prevent further spread of Covid-19. We clearly need to do more, and urgently,” the Regional Director said.

Looking at the numbers, some countries are clearly heading towards community transmission of Covid-19, the Regional Director said, adding this should best be prevented.