China has been suffering from a new strain of Coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, and despite measures to control it, China has seen around 6,000 infected and 132 dead as of this writing, as per CNN reporting.
Internationally, there have been around 86 cases reported, in countries like Australia, the United States, Canada and even as far as France.
Now, the disease has made its way to the UAE.
UAE encounters its patient zero
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) reported 4 cases of the viral infection in the UAE, pertaining to 4 Chinese family members that had recently made their way to the country from Wuhan city.
“The first case of coronavirus was diagnosed in Chinese citizens from Wuhan city, China,” MoHaP announced in a tweet. “Meanwhile, the health condition of those infected is stable and under medical observation.”
The Ministry assured the public about the general health situation, emphasizing that “it is not a cause for concern.” They have “taken all the necessary precautions in accordance with the scientific recommendations, conditions, and standards approved by the World Health Organization.”
The UAE had been prepared for inconspicuous new Coronavirus
Prior to the reporting of this case, the UAE had begun taking precautions. After all, nearly a million Chinese visitors visited Dubai last year, with 2020 figures expected to pass this million mark, according to AFP. About 3.6 million Chinese transited through DXB in 2019.
Abu Dhabi Airport had started screning passengers as early as 6 days ago, to ensure the safety of its citizens, it announced in a tweet last week.
“The coronavirus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003,” AFP noted. “Like SARS, it can be passed among humans via the respiratory tract.”
In fact, SARS is part of the family of Coronaviruses, as is the common cold. The new Coronavirus strain causes symptoms including a cough and fever and in severe cases pneumonia. As a result, it is not that distinguishable from the aforementioned common cloud initially, and can reportedly take a week to detect.
As of this writing, no other cases of the virus have been reported in the Middle East, though cases in China are increasing. Deaths related to the disease remain confined to China for now.