Coronavirus: UAE now has 333 cases of Covid-19

Authorities announce largest increase in number of cases to date

Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health, holds a briefing on the state of coronavirus in the UAE. Courtesy Dubai One
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The UAE has announced 85 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the country's total to 333.

They include seven Emiratis and four each from Saudi Arabia and Italy, five each from Iran and Pakistan, and seven from the UK.

There were two each from Palestine, Indonesia, Colombia, Japan, Germany, Egypt, Morocco and Spain; and three each from the Netherlands, Australia, South Africa, Philippines, France, India, the US and China.

There were also one each from Djibouti, Canada, Hungary, Russia, Belgium, Mauritius, Tunisia, Serbia, Venezuela, Sweden, Brazil, Romania and Oman.

Most of the patients are aged between 20 to 44 and are receiving medical attention at hospitals across the country.

On Wednesday, Dr Farida Al Hosani, spokeswoman for the UAE's health sector, said seven more people had recovered from Covid-19 and been discharged from hospital.

They were five Bangladeshis and two Pakistanis, and brought the UAE's total recovery tally to 52.

Wednesday was also the first day of a nationwide closure of commercial centres, shopping malls and open markets.

It excludes supermarkets and pharmacies and is set to last for two weeks. It was also the first day of the complete grounding of flights in and out of the UAE.

"The detection of one infected case compels the authorities to conduct an investigation among all those in contact with this one case in order to identify the source of the infection and its aftermath," said Dr Al Hosani, also director of the Department of Communicable Diseases at the Abu Dhabi Centre for Public Health.

"In this we usually detect additional cases. It usually starts with a person coming from abroad who then transmits the virus to others around him or her."

She said it would take time before the ban on travel and measures to promote social distancing would help to reduce the UAE’s number of cases.

“Suspending inbound and outbound flights began yesterday but tangible results require some time and hopefully this will help to curb the number of cases,” Dr Al Hosani said.

She said international studies had indicated that social distancing and staying home was among the most effective ways to avoid the spread of the virus.

Dr Al Hosani said the UAE had imposed a quarantine for 14 days on all Emiratis or humanitarian cases brought into the country.

That included students at universities abroad being flown home.

“There are clear guidelines they must abide by during that time," she said.

"Not abiding by these measures means they are breaking the law and will face legal action."