UAE health ministry confirms four family members diagnosed with coronavirus

World Faizah Kamal 29-Jan-2020
ID 170398495 © Olga Nikiforova |

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed on January 29 that four members of the same Chinese family in the Gulf state have been infected with the coronavirus. An Emirati doctor said the first to fall ill only showed symptoms after over a week on vacation.

Dr. Hussein Al-Rand, an assistant undersecretary at the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, said there was no reason to panic over the virus. However, he acknowledged that Emirati officials were now tracing the family’s steps from their arrival.

“Their condition is stable, they are awake, they are all receiving all the measures,” Al-Rand said. “I would say to the public: Please, don’t be panicked. The health condition within the United Arab Emirates is safe.”

Among those sick in the family are a grandmother, her daughter, the daughter’s husband and the couple’s 9-year-old daughter, Al-Rand said.

The family from Wuhan, the epicentre of the viral outbreak, entered the UAE on January 16, Al-Rand said.

Al-Rand declined to name the airline the family flew on and the airport at which they arrived.

He also declined to say which cities they visited during their vacation.

Authorities at Abu Dhabi’s airport and Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, began screening passengers and crew from incoming China flights on January 23.

Also on January 23, the grandmother among the family fell ill and sought medical care, Al-Rand said.

Public awareness about the virus had spread widely. Doctors tested the grandmother for the new coronavirus and got a positive result. Authorities admitted the other three family members shortly after and they too tested positive.