UAE helping Iran evacuate Iranian visitors over coronavirus fears

Scheduled flights temporarily suspended between the two countries to stem the outbreak

Passengers are seen in the duty free area in departure hall at terminal three of Dubai Airports in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 26, 2018. Picture taken December 26, 2018. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed
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The UAE is coordinating with Iran to operate flights for the evacuation of Iranian visitors over coronavirus fears.

The move came after the Emirates joined countries that suspended regular flights with Iran, halting services between the two countries for a week as part of precautionary measures against the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials in the UAE are helping the Iranian authorities organise flights home for its citizens.

The UAE became the first country in the Middle East to register a case of coronavirus in January.

On Thursday six new cases were announced, including four Iranians, one Chinese citizen and a Bahraini citizen who had all recently travelled to Iran.

These bring the UAE's total number of cases to 19 and the total number recovered to five.

On Thursday evening the UAE Tour was cancelled after two Italian team members test positive for virus.

The ministry has tested everyone staying at two hotels in Yas Island, where the cyclists and teams where staying, and has quarantined two people who had come into contact with the new patients.

The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority announced flights to Iran were be suspended on Tuesday.

"All passenger and cargo aircraft travelling to and from Iran will be suspended for a period of one week, and could be up for extension," the authority said.

"The decision is a precautionary measure undertaken by the UAE to ensure strict monitoring and prevention of the spread of the new coronavirus."