UAE working with WHO over SARS-like virus case

Health ministry says no cases found in UAE but Dubai visitor is critically ill in France

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

The UAE's Ministry of Health has confirmed it is working with the World Health Organisation after a man was found to have the new SARS-like virus following a visit to Dubai.

An official ministry source said there are currently no cases of coronavirus reported in the UAE.

In comments published by news agency WAM, the source added that the ministry "has taken the necessary measures as per the international standards and recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO)".

The WHO on Friday raised the number of cases confirmed worldwide to 33 after Saudi Arabia said that two people who were admitted to hospital there in April had been determined by laboratory analysis to be infected.

Late on Thursday it was reported that two people who had contact with the Frenchman who is seriously ill after visiting Dubai last month have fallen sick and been admitted to hospital.

One is a patient who shared a ward with the 65-year-old man infected with the virus when he was in a hospital in the town of Valenciennes, northern France, at the end of April, and the other is a doctor who treated him there.

The 65-year-old carrier, who fell ill on his return from a trip to Dubai, has since been transferred to an isolated intensive care wing in a hospital in Douai, near the northern city of Lille, where he is in a critical condition.

"The Ministry of Health reassures that there are very limited diagnosed cases worldwide. There is no need for panic as the ministry is closely monitoring the situation and taking the necessary precautions to guarantee public safety," added the source.

On Wednesday the WHO said it would send experts to visit a Saudi hospital from which the virus has spread, killing seven people so far.

Coronavirus is from the same viral family that triggered the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that swept the world from Asia in late 2003, killing 775 people.

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