UAE cycling tour, Switzerland ski marathon canceled amid spread of coronavirus

UAE cycling tour, Switzerland ski marathon canceled amid spread of coronavirus
Source: FT

The final two stages of the 2020 United Arab Emirates cycling tour has been canceled after two Italian staff members of one of the participating teams were found to have contracted the novel coronavirus (nCoV) known to cause the disease (COVID-19), announced the UAE Tour on February 28.

According to the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), the decision to abandon the race’s final stages, which was meant to last a total of seven days, was taken to prevent participants from getting infected.

The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention has announced that all of the race’s participants and organizers will be tested and quarantined. “All administrative staff and organizers will be examined through the continuous periodic screening being conducted, and all needed procedures, including quarantine measures, will be taken to ensure viral suppression and curb the spread of its outbreak in coordination with all health and other authorities concerned in the country.”

There are currently 19 people who confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus in the UAE. The UAE government has reportedly banned all travel to Iran and Thailand over fears of the spread of the virus.

Iran worst hit in Middle East

The worst-hit country in the Middle East remains to be Iran, with 26 deaths as of February 27. The coronavirus outbreak in the country has affected seven officials, including its deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi and Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar – Iran’s deputy for women’s affairs and the highest-ranking woman in government who was in close proximity with President Hassan Rouhani during a cabinet meeting on February 26.

“Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, who has been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, was reportedly attending a cabinet meeting yesterday. She was about three meters away from President Hassan Rouhani himself,” tweeted BBC Persian reporter, Hadi Nili.

Engadin ski marathon canceled

Other major sporting events and concerts have been either canceled or postponed due to fears of the coronavirus spread.

One of the world’s largest cross-country skiing events held in Switzerland, the annual Engadin Skimarathon which was due to take place on March 8, has been canceled for only the second time in its 51-year history. The only other cancellation of the 42-kilometer (26.1 miles) race was made due to warm weather in 1991.

“We very much regret that we have to cancel the Engadin Marathon but the health of runners, helpers and the population naturally comes first,” said the marathon’s chief executive, Menduri Kasper.