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Wed 4 Mar 2020 05:53 PM

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UAE Pro League bans fans, Abu Dhabi postpones book fair as virus bites

UAE's professional football league announces spectator suspension while Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is postponed as fears grow over new coronavirus

UAE Pro League bans fans, Abu Dhabi postpones book fair as virus bites

The UAE Pro League will play behind closed doors as concerns grow about the spread of the new coronavirus.

The UAE Pro League, the nation's professional football league, announced on Wednesday that it will play behind closed doors as concerns grow about the spread of the new coronavirus.

The league said in a statement carried by state news agency WAM that it has suspended all spectator attendance to its competitions.

It said that it is "coordinating with the relevant authorities in the country regarding the current health situation".

The statement added that it is applying "preventive and precautionary measures taken by the various entities".

The UAE Pro League has "decided to suspend fan attendance in all its competitions until further notice, for the safety of the public," the statement said.

Coronavirus cases in the UAE currently stand at 27.

Separately, the 30th edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair has been postponed, the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi, announced on Wednesday.

In a statement, DCT-Abu Dhabi said the event which was scheduled to take place from April 15-21 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, has been postponed until May 23-29, 2021.

It cited the move in a statement as a "precautionary measure to protect public health".

The decision comes as six more COVID-19 coronavirus cases were announced in the UAE, linked to the abandoned UAE Tour event.

The UAE Tour was abandoned last Thursday after two Italian staff members with one of the teams tested positive for the disease.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Education Ministry announced that the spring holiday will start earlier in the UAE and all public and private schools and higher education institutions will close for four weeks from Sunday.

The ministry said its proactive move is part of its preventive and precautionary measures aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19.

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