Iranian MP dies from coronavirus as Saudi Arabia resists infection

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Members of the medical team spray disinfectant to sanitize outdoor place of the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, Iran, on Feb. 27, 2020, amid a coronavirus outbreak. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS
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Updated 01 March 2020

Iranian MP dies from coronavirus as Saudi Arabia resists infection

  • Iran is at the center of the spread of the coronavirus through the Middle East
  • Saudi Arabia is now the only Gulf Arab state not to have reported any cases of the coronavirus

JEDDAH: An Iranian member of parliament died on Saturday after becoming infected with coronavirus, one of nine new fatalities.

The death toll in Iran is now 43, the highest outside China, and the total number infected has risen to 593. 

Several, including a vice president, the deputy health minister and five MPs, have tested positive for the virus as the outbreak forced the regime to close the parliament and impose internal travel bans.

Tehran has also ordered the shutting of schools until Tuesday and extended the closure of universities and a ban on concerts and sports events for a week. Authorities have also banned visits to hospitals and nursing homes.

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Iran is at the center of the spread of the coronavirus through the Middle East. Qatar and Oman both reported their first cases on Saturday, both linked to travel from Iran. The UAE suspended nursery classes and school trips.

Saudi Arabia is now the only Gulf Arab state not to have reported any cases of the coronavirus, but pharmacies in the Kingdom are nevertheless struggling to meet the demand for face masks.

“Despite assurances by the Ministry of Health, people have been demanding face masks, and I’m seeing more people wearing them in public,” pharmacist Adel Abdul Shakoor told Arab News. “We are out of masks now and usually we have full shelves.”

The Ministry of Health said all measures had been taken to protect the Kingdom against the virus and confirmed that there have been “no known cases” of infection.

 


 

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Since December the virus has infected more than 85,919 people and killed 2,941, mostly in China.

The first death from the virus in the US was confirmed on Saturday night  in Washington state, prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency on Saturday.

Gov. Jay Inslee directed state agencies to use “all resources necessary” to prepare for and respond to the outbreak. The declaration also allows the use of the Washington National Guard, if necessary.

Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, a Seattle and King county health official who works with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the person who died was a man in his 50s.

President Donald Trump described the person as having a high medical risk. He said healthy Americans should be able to recover if they contract the new virus.

Health officials in California, Oregon and Washington state worried about the novel coronavirus spreading through West Coast communities after confirming at least three patients were infected by unknown means. The patients had not visited an area where there was an outbreak, nor apparently been in contact with anyone who had.

(With AP)


Health checkups for expatriate workers to return

Updated 12 July 2020

Health checkups for expatriate workers to return

  • Kuwait’s coronavirus tally, just over 54,000, had recent cases attributable to people involved in active transmission

DUBAI: Health inspections for expatriate workers in Kuwait will resume with the reopening of testing centers at a limited capacity to ensure coronavirus safety measures are complied with.

Health inspection centers will also accept online registration to adapt to a 30 percent capacity requirement during the first phase of easing of the country’s coronavirus lockdown, public health director Dr. Fahad Al-Ghimlas said in a report from state news agency KUNA.

Those registering online will be directed to inspection centers nearest to their addresses or workplaces and expatriate workers can choose their testing schedules based on available timeslots.

The four testing centers – in Shuwaikh, Sabhan, Fahaheel and Jahra – will ensure safety protocols are implemented, including the wearing of masks and social distancing.

Meanwhile, local officials closed a record 122 shops for violating health standards and failing to maintaining social distancing in their selling areas.

Some of the shops included Friday Market, a large supermarket at Mirqab, and a furniture company at a mall, according to Municipality Director Ahmad Al-Manfouhi.

Municipality officials previously sealed off 113 shops before the June 30 phase two of Kuwait’s coronavirus lockdown easing was implement.

Kuwait’s coronavirus tally, just over 54,000, had recent cases attributable to people involved in active transmission.