Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq report coronavirus cases linked to Iran

Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq report coronavirus cases linked to Iran

Kuwaiti health minister Sheikh Basel al-Sabah (R) speaks to the press at Sheikh Saad Airport on
Kuwaiti health minister Sheikh Basel al-Sabah (R) speaks to the press at Sheikh Saad Airport on Sunday, as Kuwaitis returning from Iran wait before being taken to hospital to be tested for coronavirus (Photo: AFP/YASSER AL-ZAYYAT)

DUBAI: Kuwait and Bahrain confirmed on Monday (Feb 24) their first COVID-19 cases, the countries' health ministries announced, adding that the individuals had come from Iran.

Kuwait reported three infections and Bahrain one.

The three cases in Kuwait were among the 700 people evacuated from the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad last week, according to Kuwaiti health ministry.

"Tests conducted on those coming from the Iranian city of Mashhad showed there were three confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19)," the ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter.

It said the cases were of a 53-year-old Kuwaiti man, a 61-year-old Saudi citizen and a 21-year-old stateless Arab.

"All three cases are under constant observation by the health authority," the ministry added.

Bahrain's health ministry also reported the country's first COVID-19 case on Monday after a "citizen arriving from Iran was suspected of having contracted the virus based on emerging symptoms".

The patient was transferred to a medical centre for "immediate testing", which proved positive for the infection, the ministry added.

Iran's confirmed death toll rose to 12 on Monday, with the outbreak prompting travel bans from nearby countries.

Last week, Kuwait announced a ban on entry of all ships from the Islamic republic and enforced a ban on flights to and from the country.

Thousands of Bahraini and Kuwaiti Shiite Muslims travel to Iran frequently to visit holy sites.

Iraq on Monday also confirmed its first COVID-19 case, an Iranian theology student in the holy city of Najaf, who had entered the country before the government banned the entry of non-Iraqis coming from Iran.

"The results of lab tests conducted on a theology student, an Iranian citizen, who had entered the country before ... the decision to stop travel has revealed he is ill with the coronavirus," a ministry statement said.

The patient is in quarantine and medical staff are observing international health standards, the statement added.

Iraq had blocked travel to and from Iran days before it made the announcement. It has also shut its Safwan border crossing with Kuwait to travellers and trade at Kuwait's request, the local mayor told Reuters on Monday without providing a reason, amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

READ: Several countries shut Iran border, halt flights due to COVID-19

China's death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 2,592 on Monday, after the National Health Commission reported 150 more fatalities.

The coronavirus has spread to more than 30 countries, with new outbreaks in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

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Source: Agencies/nr

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