Middle East on high alert as Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia announce first cases of coronavirus

Middle East on high alert as Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia announce first cases of coronavirus
His death comes as other top officials have contracted the virus in Iran, which has the highest death toll in the world after China. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 March 2020

Middle East on high alert as Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia announce first cases of coronavirus

Middle East on high alert as Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia announce first cases of coronavirus
  • The report Monday said Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi had died
  • Kuwait Ministry of Health said they have identified 10 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours

DUBAI: Countries across the Middle East reported on Monday new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), as the disease continues to spread around the world.

Governments have asked people to follow precautionary measures to help tackle the spread of the virus, including avoiding crowded public spaces.

Live updates below. (All times GMT)

20:50 - Morocco's state media announces the country's first case.

19:40 - The number of US deaths from the novel coronavirus rose to six on Monday, all in the state of Washington, officials said, signaling the contagion has taken root in the Pacific Northwest.

Five of the six were from King county, the most populous in the state and home to Seattle, a city of more than 700,000 people. The sixth victim was from Snohomish county, officials said.

"The risk for all of us of becoming infected will be increasing," said Jeff Duchin, a health officer in King County.

18:55 - UAE begins evacuating all its citizens from Iran due to the virus outbreak, Emirates News Agency reported on Monday evening.

17:00 - By far the worst-affected country in Europe, Italy's coronavirus death toll jumped to 52 on Monday according to an official in the country.

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READ MORE: UAE and WHO send emergency medical supplies to help Iran tackle coronavirus

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16:15 - Saudi Arabia announced its first case of China coronavirus in the Kingdom on Monday, found in a traveler coming to the country from Iran via Bahrain. Full story here...

16:00 - Germany, France and Britain said Monday that they would be sending emergency equipment to Iran to fight the coronavirus outbreak as well as giving five million euros in financial aid.

"France, Germany and the United Kingdom express their full solidarity with all impacted by COVID-19 in Iran," the three countries said in a joint statement, adding that material including laboratory test equipment and protective body suits and gloves would be sent by plane later Monday.

They also committed to providing "urgent additional financial support" of 5.0 million euros ($5.6 million) for Iran

15:45 - Qatar's health ministry announces four new cases of the virus.

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READ MORE: Iran regime criticized for coronavirus response as Shiite pilgrims ‘shrine licking’ videos emerge

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15:25 Tunisia has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus, the health minister said, adding that the infected person is a Tunisian man.

14:15 - Egypt on Monday reported its second case of novel coronavirus, more than two weeks after announcing the first confirmed infection in Africa.

The foreigner is showing "minor symptoms" and has been quarantined, the ministry and the World Health Organization said in a joint statement.

12:55 - Jordan announced its first confirmed case of coronavirus in a family who arrived from Italy. Medical experts are awaiting the results for a second person also suspected to have been infected.

10:35 - Sixty-six people have died and more than 1,500 people have been infected by coronavirus in Iran, Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said in an announcement on state TV.

“The definite latest numbers we have are 523 new infections and 12 new deaths so the total number of those infected is 1501 until now and the number of deaths is 66,” he said.

10:05 Saudi Arabia is still free of coronavirus cases, Saudi Minister of Health Tawfiq Al-Rabiah announced during a press conference.

More than 290 people previously suspected of having the disease, tested negative, Al-Rabiah added.

09:15 - Iraq has detected two new coronavirus patients, both of whom had recently visited Iran, the Health Ministry said on Monday, bringing the total cases recorded so far to 21.

The two new cases were detected in Baghdad and had recently returned from Iran, the ministry said in a statement. The first case was detected on Tuesday and was of an Iranian student who has since been sent back home. The other 20 are all Iraqis who had recently been in Iran. 

08:15 - Iranian state radio says a member of a council that advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has died after after falling ill from the new coronavirus.

The report Monday said Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi had died. He was 71.

The council advises Khamenei, as well as settles disputes between the supreme leader and parliament.

His death comes as other top officials have contracted the virus in Iran, which has the highest death toll in the world after China, the epicenter of the outbreak.

07:10 – Kuwait’s Ministry of Health announced a further 10 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 55.

The patients were transferred to a designated hospital where they will be isolated and receive treatment.

The ministry renewed its advisory telling people to avoid crowded public spaces, and asked people to practice caution.