Bahrain Records 77 New Coronavirus Cases Among Evacuees From Iran

FILE PHOTO: Locals wear face masks to take precautions from coronavirus, as they shop at the Bahrain's Autumn Fair 2020, in Manama, Bahrain January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

DUBAI, March 11 (Reuters) – Bahrain reported 77 new coronavirus cases among citizens evacuated from Iran by plane, the Persian Gulf’s Arab state’s health ministry said on Wednesday, for a total of 189 infections, while two meetings of G20 economies in Saudi Arabia were postponed.

Bahrain’s new cases were among 165 individuals flown home on Tuesday in the first repatriation flight from Iran chartered by the health ministry. A second flight is set for Thursday.

Those who did not test positive will be quarantined in a dedicated facility, the government communications office said in a separate statement.

There are no direct flights between Bahrain and Iran, the world’s fourth most affected country, with more than 8,000 infections. Airlines are cancelling flights across the region as governments try to stem the spread of the virus.

All Persian Gulf Arab states have recorded infections but no deaths.

On Wednesday, Kuwait reported three new cases, taking its total infections to 72.

A meeting of agriculture and water ministers of the Group of 20 major economies in Saudi Arabia, set from March 17 to March 19, has been postponed until further notice because of virus concerns, organisers said in an email seen by Reuters on Wednesday.

A G20 working group meeting scheduled for next week was also postponed, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The kingdom holds the G20 presidency this year and hosts the annual summit in November. It recorded one new virus infection in an Egyptian transiting through Jeddah airport on his way to Cairo, state media said on Wednesday, taking its tally to 21.

Riyadh’s preventive measures include locking down its eastern Qatif region, suspending the Umrah pilgrimage and travel bans on 14 countries. The causeway linking Saudi Arabia to Bahrain was closed on Saturday.

(Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Stephen Kalin; Editing by Larry King and Clarence Fernandez)