UAE confirms 2 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 7

UAE confirms 2 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 7

General view of Dubai International Airport in Dubai
FILE PHOTO: A general view of Dubai International Airport in Dubai, United Arab Emirates February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Christopher Pike/File photo

DUBAI: Two new cases of coronavirus infection have been detected in the United Arab Emirates, bringing the total number of people diagnosed with the disease to seven, the country's health ministry said on Twitter on Saturday (Feb 8).

The patients are of Chinese and Filipino nationalities, said the ministry.

The United Arab Emirates, a major international transit hub, had suspended flights to and from China, except for Beijing, from Feb 3, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus in China.

READ: 7 new coronavirus cases in Singapore, including taxi and private-hire drivers

The new coronavirus that emerged in a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year has killed 722 people and infected more than 34,546 people in China.

READ: Coronavirus death toll surges past 700, exceeding SARS toll in China and Hong Kong

Outside China, there have been more than 320 infections reported in nearly 30 other places. There have also been two deaths, one in the Philippines and the other in Hong Kong. Both of those victims were Chinese nationals.

On Saturday, it was reported the virus had claimed its first two foreign victims - a US citizen who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and a Japanese man suspected to have the infection. Both died in Wuhan.

READ: Chinese family diagnosed with virus in UAE, first known cases in the Middle East

The total death toll is poised to pass the 774 deaths recorded globally during the 2002-2003 pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus that jumped from animals to humans in China.

During the SARS outbreak, the number of reported cases was 8,098, suggesting a far lower transmission rate than the latest coronavirus, but a higher mortality rate.

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Source: Agencies/aj