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The New Arab

Qatar shuts schools over coronavirus fears

Travellers from 14 countries are temporarily banned from entering [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 March, 2020

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Travellers from 14 countries will no longer be allowed to enter Qatar, where the number of coronavirus cases has increased to 15.
Qatar announced new measures to help prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus on Sunday, as the number of cases across the region continued to rise.

The ministry of health announced a nationwide closure of schools and universities from 10 March, following similar steps taken by other Gulf states.

The ministry also announced a ban on travellers from 14 countries, including Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand.

"The decision affects all individuals intending to enter from these countries, including visas upon arrival, those with a residence or work permit, and temporary visitors," the statement read.

The ministry also urged residents to avoid all but essential travel as the country attempts to contain the COVID-19 virus.

The latest measures comes as authorities in Doha confirmed the overall number of cases in the country has increased to 15.

The latest three cases were all foreign residents living in Qatar and have been quarantined, authorities confirmed.

Read more: How Gulf countries succeeded where Iran failed on containing coronavirus

"All those who were sharing the accommodation were subjected to quarantine, including all people who came in contact with the patients, to make sure they are healthy and that no infection was transmitted to them," a statement added.

All previous 12 cases were linked to Qatari citizens that were evacuated from Iran, where the death toll remains the highest outside of China.

Many of Iran's neighbours have imposed restrictions on travel to and from the Islamic Republic, which on Monday confirmed the death toll had increased to 237.

The novel coronavirus was first detected in China in late December before shortly spreading across the world. More than 111,275 have been diagnosed with the virus which has killed 3,882 so far.

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