Qatar has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, state media reported on February 29, after a 36-year-old Qatari woman who was evacuated to Doha from Iran tested positive.
Qatar on February 27 repatriated a number of its citizens from Iran -- which is battling the worst outbreak outside China -- and confined them to a 14-day period of quarantine, the government said.
The health ministry said the infected patient had been admitted to hospital.
"This had been expected because of the virus's spread across the region and other countries, alongside the exponential increase in the number of cases," the health ministry said according to the Qatar News Agency.
Iran on Saturday reported nine new deaths from the novel coronavirus and 205 fresh cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its overall toll to 43 dead and 593 infected.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Gulf countries have announced a raft of measures to cut links with Iran to prevent the coronavirus spreading, after infections emerged among people returning from pilgrimages to the Islamic republic.
Saudi Arabia on Friday barred citizens from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Qatar, from entering two of Islam's holiest cities amid fears over coronavirus.
The Gulf tally stands at 45 cases of coronavirus in Kuwait, 38 in Bahrain, six in Oman and two more in the United Arab Emirates for a total of 21.
On Saturday the UAE also announced it was suspending nursery school classes, and limiting activities at other schools.
Authorities said that two planes will also be sent to Iran to collect Emiratis and other Gulf citizens trapped there after air routes were closed.
Cyclists taking part in the UAE Tour are awaiting the results of coronavirus tests from their hotel lockdown, after the event was abandoned Thursday when two staff from an Italian team tested positive.
The race organisers said in a tweet Saturday that 167 of those quarantined had received negative results on coronavirus tests, but it did not say whether they were cyclists or staff members, nor how many others were awaiting results.