January 21, 2020 / 7:12 AM / 6 months ago

Air transit hub UAE ready to handle coronavirus cases: ministry

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates, a major international transit hub, has made sure its airports and ports are ready to handle coronavirus cases following an outbreak of a new virus in China, state news agency WAM reported.

More than 200 people have caught the virus, which can cause a type of pneumonia, and four people have died, Chinese authorities have said.

The virus, which appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and can pass from person-to-person, has been reported in Thailand, Japan and South Korea, raising concerns about its spread through international air travel.

The UAE’s ministry of health has made sure all ports of entry were “on standby to handle coronavirus cases,” WAM reported.

No cases of the virus have been reported in the country, it said.

The report did not disclose whether any new counter-measures had been introduced since the outbreak.

UAE’s Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest in the world and home to major international airline Emirates.

Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways operate regular flights to China.

Several Chinese airlines fly to the UAE, including China Southern Airlines (600029.SS) which operates a flight to Dubai from Wuhan.

Australia on Tuesday said it would screen passengers on flights from Wuhan amid rising concerns that the virus will spread globally as Chinese travelers take flights abroad for the Lunar New Year holiday starting this week.

Several other countries including the United States have also increased screening measures.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Stephen Coates

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