There are no cases of novel coronavirus (NCoV) reported in the UAE, an official source at the Ministry of Health has confirmed, adding that the ministry has taken the necessary measures as per the international standards and recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Commenting on news reports about a man in France who was diagnosed with NCoV after his return from a trip to the UAE between April 9 and 17, the source said the ministry was collaborating with concerned authorities in and outside the UAE, including French health authorities and the WHO.
The WHO confirmed that the virus is not a concern for public health at the moment, and that the current situation does not require ban on travel to any country in the world or screenings at different ports and do not impose any restrictions on trade.
It asked all national authorities to promptly assess and notify the WHO of any new NCoV cases within 24 hours.
"The Ministry of Health reassures that there are very limited diagnosed cases world-wide. There is no need for panic as the ministry is closely monitoring the situation and taking the necessary precautions to guarantee public safety," the sources added.
Dubai health centres told to probe Sars-like cases
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has asked healthcare institutions to investigate any Sars-like symptoms in patients after France on Wednesday reported its first case of the deadly coronavirus in a patient who had recently returned from the UAE.
The 65-year-old Frenchman has been shifted to an isolation ward in Paris, where he is currently undergoing treatment, as per agency reports.
The tourist returned to the French capital on April 17 after reportedly spending a week in Dubai; but it is unclear where he contracted the deadly coronavirus, which is from the same viral family that triggered the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or Sars in Asia killing 775 people.
The DHA issued a statement in light of this new case, with the spokesperson saying: “We have been keeping a close eye on the situation since the World Health Organisation first reported the disease outbreak last year.
“The DHA in collaboration with Ministry of Health is closely following the WGO and Centre of Disease control and Prevention (USA) protocols.”
In a message to local health centres, the DHA spokesperson added: “All health institutions are aware of the virus and its symptoms. We urge health institutions to investigate any cases of people who have symptoms of serious lung infection like pneumonia and this is a protocol that is being followed internationally.
“Besides, health and other relevant authorities in the UAE are taking all necessary measures.”
The spokesperson reiterated that the WHO has not issued any travel guidelines that people need to follow as of now, “especially with regard to countries such as Saudi Arabia, where a majority of the cases have been identified.”
While the authority assured that the situation is being closely monitored, a statement from the MoH is awaited after Emirates 24|7 contacted them.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that WHO officials are expected to visit a Saudi Arabian hospital where the Sars-like virus has claimed the lives of seven people and four still remain critically ill, while two are recovering, as per WHO update.
A total of 23 cases have been reported in Saudi in the past six months, with cases also emerging in Jordan, Qatar, Britain and Germany.
The French case brings total known infections worldwide to 31, of which 18 have died.
Symptoms of this new strain include severe lung infection and pneumonia-like conditions.