Two new cases of coronavirus confirmed in UAE

One of the sufferers is a Filipino, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Health and Prevention

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Latest: UAE coronavirus victim makes 'full recovery'

Two new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UAE, bringing the total number of people in the country with the illness to seven.

They include a Filipino, who is the first non-Chinese person to test positive for the illness in the UAE. The other new case occurred in a Chinese citizen.

The news was announced by the Ministry of Health and Prevention.

"The patients were identified through the continuous periodic screening being conducted in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organisation for people with symptoms of the new coronavirus," state news agency Wam reported.


The Ministry said the new cases were "under observation and necessary medical care according to the highest health standards applicable in the country". The ministry emphasised the effectiveness of the online reporting system.

"All health facilities will continue to report any new cases suspected to have coronavirus," it said.

It is unclear if the two new cases were infected locally or only began presenting symptoms after traveling to the UAE. The UAE is screening for coronavirus at every port of entry but the long incubation period of the virus - up to 14 days - makes it difficult to detect until symptoms develop.

On Saturday, the Philippines Embassy in Abu Dhabi said it would “fully co-ordinate with UAE health authorities” on the case of the Filipino who tested positive for the virus.

The patient was under observation and receiving medical care in accordance with the highest standards in the UAE, said the embassy.

“With this in mind, we remind all Filipinos in the UAE to always follow the hygiene protocols of the Ministry of Health and Prevention and WHO,” it said.

Last week, Philippines labour secretary Silvestre Bello apologised for suggesting a Filipina resident died from the coronavirus in Dubai.

Mr Bello said the worker died in Dubai but he was not certain whether it was due to the new coronavirus. His statement prompted a spate of false reports and local concern.

Dubai Media Office clarified that tests showed the woman died of a respiratory illness, but not the new coronavirus that originated in China.

Mr Bello's apology came on the same day Ahmed Ibrahim Saif, a former head of Dubai’s criminal court, warned the public against spreading rumours that could affect security and “incite public panic”, after a string of inaccurate posts on Twitter.

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Authorities have repeatedly said to rely on official sources for accurate information.

“It’s unacceptable and people should know better than to circulate news they are not 100 per cent certain of,” said Mr Saif.

There are seven known coronaviruses which can cause illness in people. The new coronavirus was discovered for the first time in December.

Scientists are still studying the origins of the virus, but many of the earliest cases – although not the first – were linked to a seafood market in Wuhan, a city in central China, which remains the worst affected area.

Bats are believed to be the original hosts of the virus, however, a developing theory suggests pangolins, a scaly anteater, may have passed it to humans.

Bats are known to harbour more than 60 illnesses that can infect humans, including Sars and Mers, which are close cousins of the new coronavirus.

The global number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 34,000 on Saturday, with at least 722 deaths.

The five previous cases of the virus in the UAE all occurred in Chinese tourists from Wuhan.