First Middle East cases of coronavirus confirmed in the UAE

The first cases of the deadly coronavirus in the Middle East have been confirmed in the United Arab Emirates, the country’s Ministry of Health and Community Protection said in a statement Wednesday.

The infected patients are members of a family that had traveled from Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million and the epicenter of the new virus that has killed 132 people and infected more than 6,000. The vast majority of deaths and infections are in mainland China.

In its statement, the health ministry reported the family as being in a stable condition under medical observation. Health authorities in the U.S. say the fatality rate for the respiratory disease is currently between 2% and 3%.

The exact number of cases is unclear and the ministry did not specify where in the UAE the cases had appeared.

The UAE said last week it would screen all passengers arriving at its airports from China. Dubai International Airport (DXB) is a popular transit hub for Asia and is the world’s busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic.

Airlines suspending flights to China

U.K. carrier British Airways on Wednesday announced it will halt all flights to and from mainland China, while other airlines including United and Air Canada have canceled select flights. The U.S. has issued a travel advisory warning for China and the Trump administration is considering suspending all China-U.S. flights. The U.S. and other countries have begun evacuating its citizens out of China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is telling Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to China, expanding its travel warning from the city of Wuhan to the entire country as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

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