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Dubai (AFP) – The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday announced six more coronavirus cases linked to an abandoned cycling event, saying that two Russians, two Italians, one German and a Colombian had been infected.
The UAE Tour was abandoned last Thursday after two Italian staff members with one of the teams tested positive for the disease.
The cyclists, team staff and some media were put under lockdown at hotels in Abu Dhabi where they underwent screening, with most cleared to leave over the past few days.
However, four of the 20 teams remained in quarantine — French cycling teams Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ, together with the UAE Team and Russian outfit
The official news agency WAM cited the health ministry as confirming the six new cases, which brings the total reported in the UAE to 27.
“The patients were connected to the two previously announced cases associated with the cycling event, the UAE Tour,” it said.
The French cycling teams had described their continued quarantine as confusing after other competitors were allowed home.
“All individuals within the two quarantined hotels that had no direct contact with athletes and their administrative teams were examined, and… those that tested negative for the coronavirus were allowed to leave the hotel premises,” the health ministry said.
Individuals currently quarantined will be “re-examined and tested for the virus to ensure their utmost safety,” it said, adding that all buildings and vehicles would be disinfected and sterilised.
WAM also said that the UAE education ministry had decided to suspend schools and other educational institutions for four weeks from Sunday as part of measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
The UAE had already suspended nursery school classes and limited activities at other schools.