Bahrain has ordered the suspension of all flights to and from Iraq and Lebanon, effective immediately, “until further notice”.
It comes as a further seven new cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) were confirmed in the kingdom, taking the total number of people diagnosed with the deadly virus to 33.
Infected individuals were immediately transferred to Ebrahim Khalil Kanoo Community Medical Centre for isolation and treatment following tests that confirmed they were carrying COVID-19, upon arrival at Bahrain International Airport via indirect flights from Iran.
All individuals in contact with the infected patients have also been quarantined.
The ministry noted that one of the newly recorded cases is a Bahraini citizen who had returned from Iran before the country announced the pandemic. The citizen, who called 444 having presented COVID-19 symptoms, was quickly transferred to isolation for treatment.
A spokesperson said: “The ministry will continue intensifying epidemiological monitoring at its entry points, particularly at Bahrain International Airport, as well as testing all existing suspected cases to ensure containment of the virus.”
The Civil Aviation Affairs in Bahrain urged all citizens and residents of Bahrain who are currently in areas affected by the coronavirus who were planning to return to the kingdom to call the following number +973 17227555.
SalamAir has taken the decision to suspend all flight operations to and from Bahrain, the airline said on Wednesday.
A statement issued by the carrier, said: “Based on the decision issued by the Bahrain Authorities and in light of the efforts to deal with the spread of coronavirus as a national health emergency plan, SalamAir flights are temporarily cancelled between Oman and Bahrain.”
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s health ministry said on Wednesday a second case of coronavirus was confirmed in a woman who entered the country on the same flight from Tehran that carried the first case.
“A second laboratory-confirmed case of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 was recorded,” it said.
The ministry said the patient was a woman who had been visiting religious sites in Iran and returned to Lebanon on February 20.
The authorities had said when announcing the first case last week that two other suspected cases were being investigated.
The woman infected with the second case was hospitalised on Monday, the ministry said, adding that her condition was stable.
A week after Tehran announced its first two deaths from the virus, the death toll in Iran has climbed to 19 and the country is scrambling to contain what is the deadliest outbreak outside China.
In the Middle East, so for there are confirmed cases in the UAE (13), Kuwait (26), Lebanon (2), Oman (4), Iraq (5), Iran (139) and Bahrain (33).
The worldwide death toll is now at more than 2,700, while the number of infections has topped 80,000, although the number of new cases in China, where the virus was first reported late last year, is falling.