Chinese family diagnosed with virus in UAE

Chinese family diagnosed with virus in UAE, first known cases in Middle East

Nearly 60 cases have been reported in 15 other countries, including the United States, France and Singapore

The ministry of health and the government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Credit: AFP Photo)

A family from China's central city of Wuhan staying in the United Arab Emirates has been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, the UAE health ministry said on Wednesday, the first known case in the Middle East.

The virus originated in Wuhan, capital of China's Hubei province, and has killed at least 132 people in China. The UAE is a major air transport hub, with Dubai ranked the world's third busiest and the hub of Emirates airline.

It was not immediately clear how many family members had been infected or when they arrived in the UAE.

The ministry of health and the government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The family members were in a stable condition and under medical observation, the ministry said in English and Arabic statements on Twitter.

The statement did not say where the family was being treated. The UAE is a country of seven emirates, though the majority of the population lives in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The ministry said it was "working around the clock to immediately report any new cases".

Fears of the spreading virus have already pushed airlines to reduce flights to China. Emirates said on Wednesday its flights were operating normally. 

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