UAE halts all flights, Saudi Arabia imposes curfew due to virus

Dubai/Riyadh, Mar 23 (efe-epa).- The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have imposed more restrictions on flights and citizens’ activities in a bid to fend off the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The UAE announced Monday the halt of all passenger flights and the transit of airline passengers for two weeks starting from Wednesday.

The decision taken by the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority and the General Civil Aviation Authority is subject to re-assessment, according to state-run news agency WAM.

The country’s health and emergency authorities said shopping centers, commercial centers and certain markets would be closed within 48 hours.

Restaurants would be restricted to do home deliveries only.

The measures will be in place for at least two weeks.

The precautionary steps came as the country recorded 153 confirmed cases of the infectious disease so far, with a death toll standing at two.

Meanwhile, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered a partial curfew for 21 days as part of the kingdom efforts to limit the spread of the respiratory illness.

The curfew taking place as of Monday will come into effect from 7 pm to 6 am, according to a royal decree released by the state-run news agency SPA.

The Saudi Interior Ministry will be in charge of implementing the curfew in the country that has reported 511 confirmed coronavirus cases.

Among those exempted from the decision are employees of the security, military and media sectors, and workers in the sensitive health and service sectors.

Coronavirus first emerged in China in December and has spread around the world with nearly 294,110 confirmed cases in 187 countries and regions, with the death toll standing at 12,944.

The World Health Organization earlier officially named the disease Covid-19, while the virus which causes it has been called SARS-CoV-2 (changed from its provisional name 2019-nCoV) by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

Symptoms of the disease are in many cases similar to those of a cold but may be accompanied by fever and fatigue, dry cough and dyspnea (shortness of breath).

Some of those infected develop the pneumonia-like disease Covid-19, which seems to be more dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions. EFE-EPA


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