Dubai, Abu Dhabi to shut schools as virus spreads in Middle East

The UAE has reported 27 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. (AP pic)

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates, the Middle East’s business hub, will shut schools for four weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

All public and private schools and higher education institutions will be closed from March 8. A pilot programme for distance education will be implemented during the last weeks of the period.

Foreigners make up about 85% of the UAE’s population, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi are home to major global financial institutions. The country has already restricted travel to China, Iran and Saudi Arabia as it races to prevent the spread of the outbreak.

Many conferences and business meeting have also been cancelled or delayed, while nurseries have been shut since March 1. The UAE has reported 27 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.