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The New Arab

K-pop concerts and yoga festivals cancelled in UAE as coronavirus spreads across Gulf

The outbreak has prompted measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2020

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As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread across the Middle East and North Africa, major events around the region are being cancelled to help prevent the outbreak.
Entertainment and sporting events across the Gulf region are being cancelled in a bid to stem the growth of the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has quickly spread across the Middle East and North Africa region.
In the UAE, the music Ultra Festival in Abu Dhabi and the K-pop concert Music Bank in tourist-hub Dubai have both been cancelled.

A women's forum and yoga festival in Abu Dhabi and a carnival in Dubai for the Hindu holi festival, all in March, have also been cancelled or rescheduled, Reuters reported.

American rapper and producer Russ also confirmed his 27 March concert in Dubai has been rescheduled to November because of the outbreak.

A boat show scheduled for March in Dubai has also been postponed, as has the ITU World Triathlon in Abu Dhabi.

The move came after the UAE cancelled a cycling tournament when two elite participants were diagnosed with the potentially deadly coronavirus.

Meanwhile in Qatar, the MotoGP™ race and class sessions at the Grand Prix of Qatar were cancelled due to Qatar travel restrictions.

The annual film-making Qumra event in Qatar, an initiative that seeks to provide mentorship and hands-on development for filmmakers around the world, was also cancelled.

"Due to current global concern regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, and with an awareness of our responsibility towards the health and safety of our valued guests and partners, and in an effort to reduce travel during this time, the decision has been made to cancel the 2020 edition of Qumra and its related activities," a statement by organiser Doha Film Institute said.

Qatar on Tuesday also confirmed the cancellation of the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition.

Similar moves have taken place around the world after after health experts warned against public gatherings and crowded places in a bid to help prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Last month, Saudi Arabia suspended entry into the kingdom for visitors hoping to perform the Umrah pilgrimage.

Nearly 7.5 million people performed the Umrah pilgrimage last year. The optional rite can be undertaken at any point during the year, unlike the obligatory Hajj pilgrimage. Many pilgrims also go on to travel to the Prophet's mosque in Medina, one of the largest in the world.

Tourists from countries in which "the spread of the coronavirus poses a risk" will also be temporarily prohibited from entering Saudi ArabiaSPA added.

The kingdom has not specified to which countries this new rule applies.

Across the wider MENA region, there are over 1,688 cases of the coronavirus, the majority of which are linked back to Iran, which has 1,501 cases.

The latest official death toll announced by Iran stands at 66, though there are fears that the Islamic Republic may be downplaying the number.

Many of Iran's neighbours have imposed restrictions on travel to and from the Islamic Republic.

Worldwide, more than 91,000 case have been confirmed and the death toll stands at 3,116.

On Tuesday, the UN's World Health Organisation (WHO), warned the world has entered uncharted territory in its battle against the deadly coronavirus.


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