No coronavirus cases in Oman, four reported in UAE: Ministry
Several countries have advised their citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China over virus fear
No cases of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been reported in Oman so far, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH). However, in the neighbouring UAE four cases were reported on Wednesday.
The MoH in its statement No 3 issued on Wednesday stated that it is monitoring the epidemiological situation and advised people to avoid travelling to China unless in case of extreme necessity due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus in the country.
In the statement, MoH said that 6,000 cases have been reported in China, with 132 deaths.
‘The virus has now spread to 18 other countries with 80 suspected cases reported in countries including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Macau, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Australia, the US, Canada, Germany and France.
The ministry added that four cases were recorded on Wednesday in the UAE.'
The ministry calls on citizens and residents to rely on information from official channels only and contact its call centre for any enquiries on 24441999.
MoH is monitoring the epidemiological situation and advised against travelling to China
Wuhan, China - Foreign airlines began suspending flights to and from China on Wednesday as global fears mounted over a coronavirus epidemic that has killed 132 people and infected around 6,000.
The flight announcements came hours after some countries began airlifts of their nationals trapped in Wuhan, the quarantined central Chinese city of 11mn people at the epicentre of the health emergency.
A growing number of governments - including the United States, Britain and Germany - have advised their citizens to avoid non-essential travel to China over concerns about the viral outbreak.
China has urged its own citizens to delay trips abroad, with at least 15 countries having confirmed cases of the disease.
British Airways was the first major airline to announce a total suspension of flights to and from China, citing the travel advice of the foreign office.
‘We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority’, the airline said in a statement.
Indonesia’s Lion Air Group, Southeast Asia’s biggest carrier by fleet size, then said it would halt services to and from China from Saturday ‘until further notice’.
Airlines from Myanmar and Nepal also announced suspensions of all China routes.
Cathay Pacific has reduced flights, citing low demand and the Hong Kong government’s response plan against the virus.
In one of the most dramatic measures, the tiny Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea announced no travellers from Asia would be allowed in.
Mongolia closed its border to cars from China earlier this week.
China has taken extraordinary measures to try and stop the disease spreading, including bans on tour groups travelling overseas, suspending schools and extending the Lunar New Year holiday.
Authorities last week banned most street traffic in and around Wuhan in an unprecedented quarantine effort, leaving more than 50mn people shuttered in their homes.
“This is the first day since the lockdown that I’ve had to go out,” a man in his 50s said on the mostly deserted streets of the industrial city. “I have no choice because I need to buy food.”
Thousands of foreigners have been among those trapped in Wuhan, now a near ghost-town.
Countries have scrambled for days to try and get their citizens out of Wuhan safely, but have faced huge logistical, medical and bureaucratic hurdles.
One US charter flight left Wuhan on Wednesday with 210 Americans on board - including consulate staff - according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
They will be screened and monitored before arriving at March Air Reserve Base in California, the CDC said, adding that they will be evaluated on landing and then monitored again for symptoms.
Some 250 French citizens and 100 other Europeans will be flown out of Wuhan on board two French planes this week.
The Italian government said it would send an aircraft on Thursday. Up to 70 Italians are reportedly in Wuhan.
France said it would keep its returnees in a holding facility in Paris for 14 days - the estimated incubation period for the virus.
The number of confirmed cases across China climbed to 5,974, while the death toll nationwide jumped to 132.
The scale of the deepening crisis was emphasised with the total number of infections on the Chinese mainland exceeding that of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002-03.
Tourists wearing surgical masks search for seashells on a beach next to Burj al Arab in Dubai on Wednesday. Oman’s ministry announced that four cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the UAE (AFP)
Air Asia planes on the tarmac at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang on Wednesday