By Serdar Bitmez and Hacer Baser
RIYADH (AA) - The Gulf Cooperation Council announced Wednesday that it would take preventive measures at GCC border crossings in a bid to counter the deadly new coronavirus.
The GCC issued a statement following an extraordinary meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh attended by the health ministers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
The ministers discussed what sort of measures could be taken to prevent a possible outbreak and said they would comply with the procedures suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).
They said preventive health procedures would also be practiced at all crossing points near the borders of the Gulf countries.
According to the latest reports, the UAE currently has nine cases of the novel coronavirus.
Notably, Iran – a neighbor of Gulf countries – announced earlier in the day that two people had died from the virus, which is now officially known as COVID-19.
On Wednesday, China’s National Health Commission said the death toll in the country from the coronavirus has risen to 2,005.
Authorities said 74,185 confirmed cases have been reported in the last 24 hours while 136 people have died.
They said the medical conditions of 11,977 people diagnosed with the virus are serious.
The number of those under medical observation has dropped to 135,881, while the number of patients who have been treated and discharged has risen to 14,376.
The number of those detected with the virus outside China's mainland stands at 62 in Hong Kong and 10 in Macau. Both are special administrative regions.
The coronavirus is said to have been transmitted to humans from animals, particularly bats.
It has spread to more than 20 other countries including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, France, Russia, Spain and India.
Many countries, including Turkey, have evacuated their citizens from the city of Wuhan – the epicenter of the virus – and other affected areas of China, placing them under quarantine and monitoring.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.
*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas