Over 20 Wedding Guests Contract Coronavirus After Ignoring Social Distancing

More than 20 guests at a wedding have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Abu Dhabi, the capital and second most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where confirmed cases have climbed to nearly 59,000, as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The infected individuals tested positive after attending the wedding reception where they failed to maintain social distancing practices, the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center confirmed Saturday, the Emarat Al Youm newspaper reported.

Two weeks after the wedding reception, members of the bride's family and their neighbors developed symptoms of the virus, Gulf News reported.

On Saturday, the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center warned of "the consequences of negligence in the application of these [safety] measures and its impact on the spread of 'Covid-19' virus infection," in a video shared by the official Twitter account of the Abu Dhabi government media office.

The center aimed to highlight "the importance of the commitment of all members of society to the preventive and precautionary measures in order to preserve their health, safety and the health of their families," the tweet said.

Dr. Farida Al Hosani, a spokesperson for the UAE health sector, previously warned against underestimating the threat of the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak, noting it is extremely dangerous for individuals to ignore social distancing guidelines and not wear masks, Gulf News reported.

Social gatherings, including weddings, were previously banned in the UAE starting from March this year, as part of lockdown measures imposed to reduce the risk of spreading infection in interactive group settings.

Most restrictions have been lifted since, including for communal activities, such as sports and visiting malls, with social distancing guidelines in place, the Dubai-based Al Arabiya news channel reported.

New infections in the UAE reached a peak on May 22, when its daily case count hit nearly 1,000, the highest since the outbreak began. Since late May, the number of daily new cases mostly decreased until around June 14, when it began to increase again, reaching another peak from July 3 to 5. The daily case count has mostly declined from early July, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

In the past week, Abu Dhabi reported 1,991 total new cases from July 20 to 26, a slight drop from 2,086 reported in the week prior from July 13 to 19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Abu Dhabi, medical worker, April 2020
A medical worker, wearing a protective face mask is seen on April 1, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Getty Images

Last month, a wedding in India that hosted hundreds of guests became a super-spreader of the novel coronavirus. Over 100 people were reported to have tested positive for the virus since the wedding ceremony.

The groom, who was not tested for the virus, was reported to have had a high fever in the lead up to the wedding. He died two days after the ceremony, while on his way to a hospital after his condition deteriorated.

Over 16.2 million people across the globe have been infected since the virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, including over 4.2 million in the U.S. More than 9.4 million globally have reportedly recovered from infection, while over 649,600 have died, as of Monday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The graphics below, provided by Statista, illustrate the spread of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

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