Dubai: Concerts and sporting events in the region have been cancelled or postponed and countries have stepped up health screening measures in response to the spreading coronavirus.
In the United Arab Emirates, this month's electronic music Ultra festival at Abu Dhabi's 25,000-capacity Du arena and K-pop concert Music Bank at Dubai's 17,000-capacity Coca Cola Arena have been cancelled. Electronic group Major Lazer, whose members include renowned DJ Diplo, and DJ Afrojack were scheduled to perform at Ultra.
Ultra organisers cited travel restrictions imposed by some countries and airlines due to the rapidly spreading virus in its reasoning for cancelling the two-day festival. Music Bank organisers cited the spread of the epidemic in South Korea, which is the highest outside China, and elsewhere.
Dubai's flagship international art fair "Art Dubai", scheduled for this month, has been postponed. A women's forum in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi was postponed while a yoga festival in Abu Dhabi and a Holi festival in Dubai were cancelled.
The opening round of the 2020 World Triathlon Series scheduled in Abu Dhabi this weekend has been postponed.
American rapper and producer Russ will now perform in Dubai in November instead of March because of the virus. "I know, wild lol (laugh out loud) but outta my control," he said on Twitter.
The UAE education ministry said schools and higher educational institutions would be closed for four weeks from Sunday as a precautionary measure. This move combines two weeks of students' spring break along with two weeks of distance learning.
The Oman Petroleum & Energy Show (OPES), due to take place in the sultanate in March, has been postponed to September, the organisers told Reuters. Oman on Tuesday confirmed six new cases of coronavirus, taking the total there to 12.
Qatar has cancelled a defence exhibition and Bahrain postponed two oil and gas conferences from this month to the second half of the year.
Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry said on Tuesday that people entering the kingdom by land, including via the causeway linking the country with Bahrain, were being screened.
The Red Sea International Film Festival announced on Tuesday that it will postpone its inaugural edition, which was scheduled to run during March 12-21, in Jeddah, the kingdom's second largest city.
"The spread of coronavirus is a battle we all must face around the globe," said a statement posted on its website, adding that the new date will be announced as soon as feasible. Saudi Arabia has announced on Monday detection of first case of coronavirus.
The Formula 1 Powerboat World Championship has also postponed its Saudi Arabia Grand Prix indefinitely due to the global outbreak.
Kuwait postponed the GCC Games, a regional multi-sport tournament, from April to December. It also closed its zoo and the Health Ministry instructed cafes to stop serving the shisha water pipe, state news agency KUNA reported on Tuesday.