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UAE Tour confirms six more coronavirus cases

Four teams will remain in quarantine until 14th March as cycling hit by further setbacks

Joe Robinson
4 Mar 2020

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have confirmed six new cases of the coronavirus have been discovered at the UAE Tour, resulting in the continued quarantine of four teams.

Last week, the UAE Tour was cancelled after Stage 5 due to two staff members from the UAE Team Emirates team tested positive for the coronavirus.

Race organiser RCS put the entire race, including riders, staff and journalists, in lockdown to undertake medical tests. While most were eventually allowed to leave the Crowne Royal Plaza hotel, Groupama-FDJ, Cofidis and Gazprom-RusVelo were forced to remain for further examination while UAE-Team Emirates voluntarily stayed behind.

These medical tests have subsequently returned six further cases, with the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) confirming this in a statement.

'The six individuals diagnosed with the new coronavirus include two Russians, two Italians, one German and one Colombian. The patients were connected to the two previously announced cases associated with the cycling event, the UAE Tour,' the statement read.

'MoHAP confirmed that the cases are being monitored, and individuals are currently in a stable condition and are receiving all necessary health care required.'

In regards to those being kept under quarantine, officials stated they will 'be re-examined and tested for the virus to ensure their utmost safety.'

These six further positives for the Covid-19 have taken the total number of cases in the UAE up to 27.

Latest reports from UAE suggest the teams currently in quarantine will remain there until 14th March, at the earliest, with Cofidis releasing a team statement earlier today.

'We just learned that we are officially quarantined, a priori until 14th March. Certainly, the deadline is far away (although it is only 10 days) but in a way, it is a kind of relief. Indeed, as I have had the opportunity to say and write it, what was difficult to live so far was the lack of deadline and the permanent expectation of a close outcome that never happened. It was a source of anxiety and stress,' read Cofidis's Facebook post.

'Now we know what to expect, and even if the confinement in a room continues, everyone will succeed in finding occupations, distractions, activities.

'We will remain united with each other, aware that we are living a collective adventure, that we would have liked not to live, but which will teach us about ourselves and about others. We already tell ourselves that in a few months, we will laugh between us … proof that we are already planning!'

American WorldTour team Education First have requested to withdraw from the upcoming Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-San Remo races as a precautionary measure as the outbreak of coronavirus in Italy continues to worsen.

The team said it was acting on advice from the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid 'all non-essential travel to Italy'.