The UAE has announced that all arrivals into the country will have medical checks due to the coronavirus crisis
Mainland China reported a rise in new confirmed cases on Thursday, reversing three straight days of declines due to a spike in new patients in Wuhan.
The death toll from the outbreak in mainland China had reached 3,012 on Wednesday, up by 31 from the previous day. Hubei accounted for all of the new deaths. In Wuhan, 23 people died.
In the US, California declared a state of emergency late on Wednesday as a cruise ship was held off the coast over fears of a new outbreak.
The measures came as the death toll in the United States hit 11, including the first fatality in the west coast state.
All travelers arriving in the UAE will face strict checks to ensure they are not carrying coronavirus and may be quarantined, the Ministry of Health said.
Airline passengers can expect tests at the airport and – depending on their travel history – a period of isolation at home.
The move extends to citizens and expats returning home from abroad. In a separate statement, Emiratis and expat residents were urged not to travel abroad.
Any suspected travellers would be taken to a medical facility and monitored.
Emiratis and expats were urged to avoid foreign travel as airports stepped up checks on arriving passengers.
Returning residents can expect tests at the airport and – depending on their travel history – a period of isolation at home, the Ministry of Health said. Tourists from a range of countries, including high-risk outbreak areas, can also expect checks.
Basic tests involve walking past thermal scanners, which allow medical officials to spot raised body temperature, potentially caused by fever. Some airports use handheld temperature scanners placed on a passenger’s forehead, which works in the same way and takes moments.
Those found with high temperatures may be subject to a nasal swab, which is then placed into a solution. It takes a few minutes and determines whether the person has signs of illness – without formally confirming diagnosis.
Any travellers who test positive would be taken to a medical facility and monitored.
The ministry announced the move on Thursday, ahead of a month-long school closure from Sunday.
State news agency Wam reported: “The Ministry of Health said if a person does travel, there will be preventative measures at the point of re-entry into the country, depending on the assessment of the concerned authorities, which includes medical tests at the airport, and keeping people in isolation at home until being assured of the patient’s safety.
“In case of carrying the coronavirus, then there will be isolation at medical facilities and that is to ensure the safety of the patient and avoid mixing with others.”
In a statement, the ministry said it was taken a series of measures to prevent the spread of the virus, which has been confirmed in 28 patients in the UAE.
“Among the most prominent of these efforts is the distribution of the medical guide to health and governmental facilities and the private sector, in addition to other sectors such as education, borders and tourism, and the provision of isolation rooms in all the hospitals, as well as placing thermal detectors on all air, land and sea ports,” the ministry said.