Saudi Arabia and Morocco announce first case of Coronavirus
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Saudi national coming back from Iran through Bahrain contracts virus while Moroccan man living in Italy is infected.
Saudi Arabia and Morocco on Monday announced their first case of the new corona-virus. A Saudi national coming back from Iran through Bahrain contracted the virus, the Health Ministry said. The ministry said on its official Twitter account that the individual, who is in quarantine in hospital, had not disclosed his visit to Iran when entering Saudi Arabia .
Iran has reported the most deaths from the corona-virus outside China, where the flu-like disease originated. Other Gulf Arab states have diagnosed the infection in several people that had visited Iran. The official Saudi news agency , citing the Health Ministry, said people that had interacted with the infected man had been isolated and were being tested.
Saudi Arabia had since last week taken several measures to stop the spread of the disease to the dominion . It imposed a ban on foreigners arriving for the Muslim Umrah pilgrimage, Gulf Arab citizens visiting Mecca and Medina, home to Islam’s two holiest sites, and tourists from at least 25 states where the virus has been found. The Health Ministry said on Sunday it had prepared 25 hospitals to handle any corona-virus infections, with 2,200 beds dedicated for quarantine cases. Pilgrimage is business for Saudi Arabia , the birthplace of Islam, and is that the backbone of plans to expand visitor numbers under an ambitious economic reform agenda. The minor Umrah pilgrimage, which can take place at any time of the year, brought 7.5 million people to Saudi Arabia in 2019, according to official figures. Visits by pilgrims accelerate during the fasting month of Ramadan, beginning this year in late April. And in late July, some 2 million pilgrims are expected for the week-long haj, the world’s largest annual gathering of Muslims, which features a separate visa regime.
Morocco’s health ministry declared on Monday its first corona-virus case, from a Moroccan man living in Italy. The man is currently receiving health care at a hospital in Casablanca and his health condition isn’t critical, the ministry said during a statement without further details. Moroccan police arrested three individuals in Tetouan and Marrakech in the last four days for spreading false information about the disease. Morocco is considering the postponement of sports and cultural events over corona-virus fears, a national committee charged with overseeing the state’s response to the disease said on Sunday, state media reported.
Mass gatherings may also be cancelled the committee said, adding that travel to and from countries suffering from corona-virus outbreak would continue to be monitored. In Bahrain, the health ministry said on Monday two more people were diagnosed with the corona-virus, a Bahraini woman and a Saudi man, both of whom it said took non-direct flights from Iran to Bahrain and were isolated upon arrival and tested. This brings the entire recorded cases in Bahrain to 49.