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Coronavirus Outbreak: Bangladeshi infected in UAE

  • Published at 01:25 pm February 22nd, 2020
File photo: Medical workers in protective suits inspect a CT scan image at a hospital in Yunmeng county of Xiaogan city in Hubei, the province hit hardest by the novel coronavirus outbreak, China on February 20, 2020 Reuters

IEDCR warns of unnecessary panic, rumours

In a shocking revelation, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has confirmed two new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, including one of a Bangladesh national.

The duo are a 34-year-old Filipino national and a 39-year-old Bangladeshi citizen who had contacts with a Chinese person diagnosed with the deadly virus, reports Reuters citing a statement issued by the UAE’s Health Ministry on Friday.

But the patients were in stable condition, it added.

The UAE government did not disclose where the patients were being treated or which parts of the country they visited.

Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control, and Research (IEDCR), headquartered in Dhaka, also attested to the development. 

“We’re keeping regular contacts with the Foreign Ministry and Bangladesh Embassy in the UAE in this regard,” it said in a press release issued on Saturday.

The UAE, a major international air transit centre, and tourism and business hub, recorded its first coronavirus case on January 28 when four members of a Chinese family were diagnosed.

It has since suspended passenger flights to mainland China, with the exception of Beijing.

Most of those diagnosed in the UAE with the virus have been Chinese citizens. Another Filipino national and one Indian national have also been infected. 

Three of those previously diagnosed, all Chinese nationals, have fully recovered, the UAE‘s Health Ministry has said.

Conditions of Bangladeshis is Singapore unchanged

In Singapore, five Bangladeshis infected by the virus were still being treated in a hospital, with one of them, who was suffering from pneumonia and kidney problems before being infected by Covid-19, still at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), the IECDR said.

Another five Bangladeshis were at quarantine, it added. 

Singapore’s health department is still working for the recovery of the Bangladeshi being treated at the ICU, said IEDCR Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora while addressing a press briefing at her office on Saturday. 

“They (Singaporean authorities) are trying their best. They are doing everything possible for the patients. We hope all will recover soon and return home,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Thai Airways International has decided to cancel some flights to Bangladesh and eight other countries for the rest of February and next months.

Flight TG339 from Thailand to Dhaka will be cancelled on February 25, 26, 28, 29 and most of March. Flight TG340 on the same route will be cancelled on February 26, 27, 29 and most of next month.

This development took place at a time when the crew members of Biman aircraft, who returned from Coronavirus-hit Wuhan of China carrying 312 Bangladeshis on February 1, are denied visas to enter other countries.

On February 2, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam disclosed the matter to journalists, saying: “Singapore has already informed that these crewmembers can’t enter their country.” 

Chinese Ambassador in Dhaka Li Jiming on February 17 advised against evacuating 171 Bangladeshi nationals from the locked-down cities in China's Hubei province, the epicentre of a deadly coronavirus. He said: "There are risks in bringing them back now."

The envoy, however, opined that permission is not a problem. "[But], the problem is some technical difficulties,” Jiming told reporters.

Global scenario

Fears mounted on Saturday over the rise of new cases and fatalities outside China from the new coronavirus outbreak, as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a shrinking window to stem the spread of the deadly disease.

The warning came as the second European died from the virus, which first emerged in December in China but has now spread to over 25 countries.

An Italian town named Codogno came under lockdown as a second death from coronavirus fears throughout the region, reports AFP. The deceased is a woman. 

So far, three people have tested positive for the virus there. 

A 78-year-old retired bricklayer from the nearby Veneto region, who was the first local person in Europe to die from the coronavirus.

In addition, an Iranian official has tested positive for coronavirus, Reuters reported quoting the country’s state TV, identifying him as Morteza Rahmanzadeh, the mayor of district 13 of the capital Tehran, 

He was hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms on Friday.

But the Fars news agency later tweeted the director of public relations for district 13 had denied Rahmanzadeh had contracted the virus, saying he was in good health. 

South Korea says the number of new coronavirus cases in the country has more than doubled in one day, according to BBC.

Officials on Saturday said that 229 new cases had been confirmed since Friday, raising the total to 433.

South Korea has now reported the largest number of confirmed infections outside China - 76,288 cases including 2,345 deaths - and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan which has seen more than 600 cases.