CAIRO / DUBAI:
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has discovered a “limited number” of cases of people infected with the new variant of coronavirus in the country, a government official said, the first confirmed cases of a contagious COVID-19 mutant in the Gulf region.
Omar al-Hammadi, an official spokesman for the government of the United Arab Emirates, said at a press conference on Tuesday that those affected had come from abroad without specifying where or how many cases there were.
“Given the emergence of the emerging coronavirus strain in the UK and coupled with the ongoing research into the health sector, it has been shown that there are limited cases in the country coming in from abroad,” he said.
The UK and South Africa separately reported rapidly spreading variants of the coronavirus, prompting some nations to ban travel to the two countries amid fears that a more virulent virus could worsen ailing health systems.
The Oman news agency reported on December 21 that the Oman health authorities were investigating four suspected cases of the UK variant, citing Health Minister Ahmed al-Saidi. No further details were available.
The UAE has kept its borders and international flights open while neighboring Saudi Arabia extended a ban on entry to the kingdom by air, land and sea for another week on Monday.
Oman reopened its border on Tuesday, while Kuwait – which also suspended all commercial flights and closed its land and sea borders until January 1 – has no plans to extend the suspension.
The United Arab Emirates reported 1,506 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours on Tuesday, bringing the total number of people infected with the virus in the country to 204,369.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)