DOHA- Qatar has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, state media reported Saturday, after a 36-year-old Qatari woman who was evacuated to Doha from Iran tested positive.
Qatar on Thursday 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.
“This is an international problem and all nations should work together to overcome the coronavirus crisis,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Qatar’s ruler Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Saturday by telephone, according to Iranian state TV.
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. As several countries in the Middle East reported cases of the coronavirus stemming from Iran, the country is the epicenter the outbreak in the region.
Health Minister Saeed Namaki warned on Friday of “a very difficult week” ahead in Iran, which only announced its first infections and deaths from the coronavirus on Feb. 19 and where the death rate among confirmed cases has been around 10%, compared to around 3% elsewhere.
Tehran has ordered the shutting of schools until Tuesday and the government has extended the closure of universities and a ban on concerts and sports events for a week.
The development arouses fears among more than 140,000 Ugandans working in Gulf States and the Middle East to be on the stake of contracting the disease.