The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) reported six new coronavirus cases have been found at the UAE Tour, arising from contact with the two team staff members whose infections saw the race draw to a premature close last week.
"The six individuals diagnosed with the new coronavirus include two Russians, two Italians, one German and one Colombian," read the statement from MoHAP. "The patients were connected to the two previously announced cases associated with the cycling event, the UAE Tour.
"MoHAP confirmed that the cases are being monitored, and individuals are currently in a stable condition and are receiving all necessary health care required."
The new Covid-19 infections bring the total number of cases in the UAE to 27, with five of that number having been reported as fully recovered from the illness.
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"All individuals within the two quarantined hotels that had no direct contact with athletes and their administrative teams were examined," continued the statement. "Those that tested negative for the coronavirus were allowed to leave the hotel premises.
"Individuals currently quarantined will be re-examined and tested for the virus to ensure their utmost safety," MoHAP continued, adding that disinfection and sterilisation procedures will be carried out for all buildings, utilities and vehicles.
UAE Team Emirates have voluntarily stayed behind as a precautionary measure, despite the team's staff and riders being given the all-clear to leave, while Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ and Gazprom-RusVelo remain under quarantine, confined to the fourth floor of the race hotel, the Crowne Royal Plaza Abu Dhabi Yas Island.
Earlier on Tuesday, Tuttobiciweb reported that further tests were being carried out on several riders, including Gazprom-RusVelo rider Imerio Cima, whose second test gave neither a positive nor negative result.
"Some people will have to undergo a third swab test," Cima's teammate Cristian Scaroni told Tuttobiciweb. "It sounds like a comedy, but it's far from funny. I hope Imerio returns to the hotel as soon as possible and that we'll be given the green light to leave."
Scaroni added that he had contacted the Italian Embassy asking for intervention but was told that it was up to local authorities to arrange tests they deem appropriate.
"We can only be patient," he said. "We're doing that, but it's becoming difficult to sustain this imprisonment without information."
Cofidis rider Nathan Haas and his directeur sportif Roberto Damiani have both expressed their frustration at the ongoing quarantine, which has run for five days. Mathilde L'Azou, the team's official photographer spoke to Cyclingnews to give an update on the situation.
"Conditions are still complicated," she said. "We have some food; they bring us a lunch pack in front of our room, but it is so weird. Personally, I have lost 3 kilos since Thursday, because of the food and the stress.
"The morale is not good now," L'Azou continued. "We are very, very united in the team, and that's the only thing that saves us from real depression. But for how much longer?"
As of this morning, all three teams were awaiting a second round of tests for the virus. It is not yet known which teams are affected by the six new reported cases.
The remainder of the teams, race organisation, and journalists covering the UAE Tour were allowed to leave the country on Sunday, having all tested negative for coronavirus.
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Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content on Cyclingnews and takes on live race text coverage throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Tro-Bro Léon, Strade Bianche, and the Vuelta a España.
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