Abu Dhabi shuts down tourism, cultural venues due to the outbreak of coronavirus
DUBAI: Abu Dhabi announced on Saturday it was shutting major tourism and cultural venues, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum and the Ferrari World theme park, from March 15-31, as Arab states in the Gulf stepped up measures against coronavirus.
The latest announcement was made in tweets by the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office. Abu Dhabi is the capital and largest emirate in the UAE.
The UAE Civil Aviation Authority also announced a suspension of all flights from and to Lebanon, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, starting March 17 until further notice.
Dubai said it was canceling all events planned in March and asked hotels not to host wedding celebrations during this period.
A number of shops have voluntarily closed in Dubai to contribute to the containment efforts.
Gulf Arab states have stepped up measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait taking the most drastic decisions by canceling all international flights.
The UAE will suspend all visa issuance, except to foreign diplomats, starting on March 17, the official news agency WAM reported, citing immigration authorities.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a group of six oil-rich Arab countries, has reported nearly 850 coronavirus infections, mostly people who had traveled to Iran or who were contaminated by them. No death has been reported in the GCC.
Oman, which has the lowest number of infection in the region at 20, announced on Saturday a one-month closure of schools and educational institutions, a precaution taken by other GCC states.
Qatar confirmed on Saturday 17 new infections, bringing the total number of people diagnosed with the disease to 337, the highest in the GCC, followed by Bahrain, 211, and Kuwait, 104. Gulf health authorities have intensified pleas to the population to avoid gatherings, carrying out campaigns to sanitize public places.
“I urge you by God to stay at home,” said Kuwaiti Health Minister Basel Al-Sabah on state TV.