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AFP
February 26, 2020

UAE halts Iran flights as Gulf reports new virus cases

World

AFP
February 26, 2020

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday suspended all passenger and cargo flights to Iran in what it said was a precaution against the new coronavirus.

The move came as Gulf neighbours Kuwait and Bahrain announced nine new cases of COVID-19, all of them people returning from Iran. Over the past two days, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman have reported 18 cases of the novel coronavirus for people returning from pilgrimages to Iran.

The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority "suspended all passenger flights and cargo to and from Iran starting today and for one week," a statement carried by the official WAM news agency said, adding that the ban could be extended.

Bahrain´s health ministry said six people -- two Bahrainis and four Saudi women -- returning to the kingdom from Iran via Dubai had tested positive for the deadly virus, raising the total cases to eight. Kuwait meanwhile reported three new cases among Kuwaiti men who had been under quarantine in the emirate after returning from Iran, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases there to eight.

And Oman reported Monday its first cases of coronavirus -- two Omani women who had returned from Iran.

The three countries have large Shiite Muslim populations who frequently travel to Iran to visit holy shrines.