Kuwait cancels National Day celebrations as coronavirus cases increase
Bahrain and Kuwait have announced extraordinary measures to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus after the two Gulf States reported on Monday that the virus had spread to their territories.
Bahrain has halted all flights to and from Dubai and Sharjah airports, both emirates in the UAE, for 48 hours, according to the official Bahrain News Agency.
There are at least 15 flights daily from Dubai International Airport, a major global aviation hub, to Bahrain and three flights a day from Sharjah.
Read more: How are Arab countries preparing for coronavirus?
The number of coronavirus cases in the UAE has now risen to 13.
Bahrain now says that six people on its territory have been infected – two Bahrainis and four Saudis - all of whom had visited Iran.
Kuwait cancelled all events to mark its National Day, which is celebrates on 25 February, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. It has also cancelled flights going to and from South Korea, Thailand, and Italy.
Al-Arabiya TV reported on Tuesday that the number of coronavirus cases in Kuwait had risen to eight on Tuesday. On Monday the country's authorities said that three people had been infected by the coronavirus.
Authorities also established a taskforce to respond to the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, Kuwait Times reported.
This will be led by the minister of health and will "take required steps to curb [the coronavirus'] spread into the country.
Kuwaitis returning from Iran were also placed in quarantine.
Iran is suffering from a major outbreak of the disease, centred on the Shia shrine city of Qom.
Iranian officials have denied reports that 50 people have died in the city due to the coronavirus, but acknowledged deaths from the disease.
"In the whole country, 47 [people] have been diagnosed with Covid-19. Unfortunately, 12 of them have died of the disease so far," Iranian parliament spokesman Assadollah Abbasi said.