UAE Tour cancelled after two Italian riders test positive for coronavirus.

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A total of 24 Italian cyclists started the race in the UAE.

The UAE Tour was abandoned Thursday after two Italian cyclists tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said, with teams and riders reported to be under lockdown in their hotels.

“The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the Race’s participants,” said the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, adding that “safety comes at the top of all priorities.”

Organisers said that all the participants in the race, that had been due to finish on Saturday, will be tested for the virus which hit Italy hardest in Europe.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health and Prevention said that all the race’s participants, administrative staff and organisers will be examined through the continuous periodic screening being conducted, and all needed procedures, including quarantine measures, will be taken to ensure viral suppression and curb the spread of its outbreak in coordination with all health and other authorities concerned in the country.

The ministry added that all the necessary precautions to ensure highly efficient preventive measures are being taken, including check-ups and observation of people in contact with patients, to guarantee protection of the society and its safety and preserve public trust.

Italy has seen 650 people infected and 17 deaths.

A total of 24 Italian cyclists started the race in the UAE.