Three Emirates Airline personnel in Dubai tested for coronavirus

Employees with flu-like symptoms tested negative following checks at a local hospital

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Three Emirates Airline employees were taken to hospital with flu-like symptoms but tested negative for the coronavirus, officials said on Thursday.

The airline confirmed tests had taken place after a video was circulated of a woman being wheeled into an ambulance at Dubai International Airport by paramedics in hazmat suits.

"We confirm our medical clinic team has referred three of our employees with flu-like symptoms to a local hospital as a precautionary measure," an Emirates spokeswoman told The National.

“They were all cleared. We are unable to comment any further in order to protect the privacy of our colleagues."

Dr Hussain Al Rand, assistant undersecretary at Ministry of Health and Prevention, on Thursday confirmed there were no new cases.

Four Chinese citizens confirmed to be the first cases in the Middle East remain in hospital in a stable condition.

On Thursday, some hospitals saw a rush of UAE residents worried they have coronavirus, presenting doctors with blocked noses, sore throats and demanding vaccinations.

At Medcare Hospital in Safa Park, patient walk-ins have doubled in the past few days.

“We have more patients coming to us with common cold. We’d get about 30-35 such patients before the news of coronavirus spread but now that number has gone to 55 to 60,” said chief executive Dr Shanila Laiju.

“Patients who would normally wait two to three days to come see a doctor are now in the hospital even if they just sneeze."

Doctors urged the public not to panic, highlighting how the Chinese family of four, a mother, father, nine-year-old daughter and grandmother, are from Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak.

Dubai Health Authority guidelines said hospitals have to quarantine and monitor any patient who is suspected of having coronavirus, but they are able to rule out those solely with minor symptoms and colds and send them home.