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

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE - Our Correspond­ent Mus­cat

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

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