Schools, Public Events Canceled in Gulf as Coronavirus Spreads
The UAE Education Ministry announced on Tuesday that, due to the coronavirus outbreak, schools and higher educational institutions would be closed for at least four weeks. Spring holidays, originally set for March 29 to April 12, are now scheduled to start March 8. The school closing is just one of countless postponements and cancellations of public gatherings, sporting events, festivals and concerts throughout the Gulf states due to fears of the spreading coronavirus. To date, 2,476 cases of the virus have been reported in the Gulf region. The largest outbreak in the region is in Iran, where 77 people have died of the virus. Kuwait has postponed the GCC Games, a regional multi-sport tournament, from April to December. The UAE, where international conferences and events are a big industry, has reported 27 cases of coronavirus. The international art fair Art Dubai has been postponed, as has a women’s forum and the opening round of the 2020 World Triathlon Series, both in Abu Dhabi. A yoga festival in Abu Dhabi and a Hindu Holi festival in Dubai were canceled. A Dubai concert by American rapper Russ, originally set for March, has been rescheduled for November because of the virus. Various other sporting events, festivals, exhibits, conferences, and other events have also been canceled or postponed in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.