Qatar evacuates citizens from Iran over coronavirus fears

All Qatari citizens in Iran were brought back to capital Doha on Thursday and will be placed in a 14-day quarantine.

Doha, Qatar, December 12, 2019 [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]
No coronavirus cases have been reported in Qatar, according to the GCO [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Qatar has evacuated all its citizens in Iran over coronavirus fears and brought them back to Doha, the Government Communications Office (GCO) confirmed in a press release.

All those brought back on Thursday will be quarantined in a local hotel for 14 days.

“A hotel has been set up as a quarantine facility to be used by the Qatari citizens for a 14-day period and will be cared for and monitored by medical. Additionally, they have also been provided with all necessities,” the statement read.

The GCO reiterated that no cases of the novel coronavirus had been diagnosed in Qatar and “encouraged individuals to refer to official information and to not rely on or distribute unconfirmed or unofficial information”.

The coronavirus has steadily spread in the Middle East over the past week, with Iran reporting the highest number of cases – 388 confirmed cases and 34 deaths as of Friday.

Coronavirus in Middle East

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the first country in the Middle East to register a case of the disease, known as COVID-19.

On January 29, the UAE’s health ministry said four members of a Chinese family, who arrived from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicentre of the outbreak, tested positive for the virus. Another nine cases have since been confirmed. 

Egypt reported its first case – a foreigner who did not show serious symptoms – on February 14, according to the health ministry in Cairo. 

On February 24, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq and Oman reported their first cases – all patients had been in Iran before being infected.

Globally, at least 80,000 people have been diagnosed with the illness, an overwhelming majority of them in China.

Saudi Arabia stops foreign pilgrims due to coronavirus
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies