DUBAI: Countries across the Middle East were on high alert as the disease continues to spread around the world. Governments have asked people to follow precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, including avoiding crowded public spaces.
Saturday, March 7 (all times in GMT)
01:00 The Mataf ( the courtyard area around the Kaaba) in Makkah's Grand Mosque was reopened for Non-Umrah Performers worshippers on Saturday morning. General President of the Grand Mosque and Prophet's Mosque Affairs Sheikh Dr. Abdurrahman bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais announced the issuance of the royal order, stressing “the need to adhere to the precautionary procedures and cooperation with all the workers in the Grand Mosque to serve its visitors, pointing to the keenness of the wise leadership to provide comfort, tranquility, security and safety for citizens and expatriates.”
00:30 Saudi Arabia is temporarily stopping entry into the Kingdom by land from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain, as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19) coronavirus, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Saturday.
Friday, March 6 (all times in GMT)
23:30 - Kuwait has suspended flights from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Bangladesh, Philippines, India, and Sri Lanka for a week starting Saturday, according to the country’s civil aviation authority.
There will be no entry to anyone who has been to any of countries in the list within the last two weeks.
20:00 - Iraq reported eight new coronavirus cases on Friday: 5 in Baghdad, 2 in Sulaimaniya and one case in Karbala, the state news agency reported quoting the health ministry.
19:54 - Iraq reported a death by coronavirus in the city of Karbala, bringing the total death count by coronavirus to three in the country, state news agency reported on Friday.
18:00 - Crossing more borders, the new coronavirus hit a milestone Friday, infecting more than 100,000 people worldwide as it wove itself deeper into the daily lives of millions, infecting the powerful, the unprotected poor and vast masses in between.
17:50 - Iraq has banned travellers coming from France and Spain from entering the country, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday, bringing the total number of countries on its entry ban list to 11 as it tries to stem the spread of coronavirus.
The ban does not extend to Iraqi citizens and foreign diplomats, a ministry spokesman said in a statement. Iraq has so far recorded 38 cases of coronavirus and two deaths.
17:00 - The death toll in Italy from the virus rises to 197 from the 148 reported on Thursday, according to a government official.
14:30 - The northwestern Chinese province of Gansu has confirmed 17 new coronavirus cases imported from Iran, bringing the total imported cases to 28, the province’s health authorities said late on Friday.
13:45 - The number of people infected by the new coronavirus globally surpassed 100,000 on Friday, according to a Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials.
12:55 - South Africa’s first coronavirus case came from Italy via Dubai to the main airport in the eastern city of Durban, the health minister said on Friday.
12:00 - Representatives of Iraq's top Shiite cleric did not deliver his weekly sermon in Karbala on Friday, a first since the fall of Saddam Hussein, due to fears of spreading the novel coronavirus.
Religious authorities had already closed the shrine of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, where the sermon is usually delivered, to mitigate the risk of contagion.
On Friday, representatives who usually read Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's address, broadcast live on state television, did not appear.
11:31 - Iran warned it could use 'force' to halt travel amid coronavirus outbreak.
11:25 - Egypt's health ministry announced 12 new coronavirus cases detected on a ship sailing from Aswan to Luxor.
11:14 - Precautionary measures continue at Makkah mosque with regular sanitation, Saudi preacher said.
11:03 - Iran says the new coronavirus has killed 124 people amid 4,747 confirmed cases in the country.
10:24 - Cameroon has confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus, a French national who arrived in the capital Yaounde in February, the government said on Friday.
The man, 58, has been placed in isolation in a hospital, the health ministry said in a statement.
10:12 - An 86-year-year old man infected with the coronavirus died in the Netherlands on Friday, the country's first known fatality from the epidemic, the National Health Institute said.
He died in hospital in the port city of Rotterdam.
09:25 - The Vatican said on Friday that a patient in its health services had tested positive for coronavirus.
Spokesman Matteo Bruni said the discovery was made on Thursday and that outpatient services in Vatican clinics had been suspended to sanitize the areas. He said its emergency services will continue, adding that the Vatican had informed Italian health authorities.
09:18 - An adviser to Iran’s foreign minister who took part in the 1979 US embassy hostage crisis has died from coronavirus, the official IRNA news agency reported.
07:04 - Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed said he discussed in a phone call with Microsoft's Bill Gates the importance of “enhancing cooperation between multilateral institutions and private entities in the global fight against all diseases and [coronavirus] in particular.”
My good friend @BillGates and I discussed over a call the importance of enhancing cooperation between multilateral institutions and private entities in the global fight against all diseases and covid19 in particular. We have been and will remain strong partners in this effort.
— محمد بن زايد (@MohamedBinZayed) March 6, 2020
12:32 - Israel has imposed a lockdown on the city of Bethlehem over coronavirus fears as Palestinian authorities announced a two-week ban on tourists and shuttered the Church of the Nativity.
Thursday, March 5 (all times in GMT)
20:59 - The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority has denied social media reports about banning entry of people arriving from Egypt to the country, saying the reports are false and misleading, state news agency WAM reported.
This video explaining how COVID-19 transmits person to person was produced by the World Health Organisation
20:30 - Qatar’s government communications office said that in line with the country’s efforts to take all the “necessary preventive measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus, all Qatari and GCC citizens entering Qatar or traveling to other Gulf countries should use their passports and not their ID cards as of 6 March 2020.
In line with taking all the necessary preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, all Qatari & GCC citizens entering #Qatar or travelling to other Gulf countries should use their passports and not their ID cards as of 6 March 2020.https://t.co/Pb6CuPtSJb
— مكتب الاتصال الحكومي (@GCOQatar) March 5, 2020
15:16 - Bahrain’s Ministry of Education announced that all public and private educational institutions will be closed for an additional two weeks, until March 29.
— Bahrain News Agency (@bna_en) March 5, 2020
13:56 - Oman's Ministry of Health reported a new case of coronavirus bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 16. The patient is a citizen who arrived from Milan.