Coronavirus grips Middle East as new cases confirmed

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A member of the civil defense team sprays disinfectant to sanitize an area in the neighbourhood of the house of the person who was diagnosed with coronavirus and died, in Kerbala, Iraq. (Reuters)
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Updated 08 March 2020

Coronavirus grips Middle East as new cases confirmed

  • The UAE announced 15 new coronavirus cases taking to 45 the total infections in the country
  • Kuwait health ministry announced 3 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases to 61

DUBAI: As the Middle East continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak, governments in the region have been taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Saturday, March 7 (All times in GMT)

20:30 - The governor of New York on Saturday announced a state of emergency as the coronavirus continued to spread in the northeastern state, with 21 new cases.




Signage advising on how to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses is seen on the subway platform at the Times Square station after further cases of coronavirus were confirmed in New York, US, Mar. 6, 2020. (Reuters)

18:50 - France confirmed on Saturday that five more people in the country had died from coronavirus, meaning the French death toll rose to 16.

18:05 - Egypt confirmed 33 new cases of coronavirus on a cruise ship on Egypt's Nile River. 

17:20 - Lebanon's cases of coronavirus rises to 28, according to a health ministry statement released on Saturday

16:45 - The death toll of coronavirus victims in Italy rose to 233 on Saturday from 197 on Friday, and the number of cases now sits at 5,883.

15:45 - Bahrain's Ministry of Health said on Saturday that two people infected with coronavirus have recovered, taking the number of recoveries in the country to six. However, the number of cases rose to 79.




Doctors collect samples from a traveller who returned from Iran check if is infected with the novel coronavirus, at Isa Town Health Center, south of Manama. (Reuters/File Photo)

14:00 - More bad news for China, as the country's state media announced on Saturday that one of the hotels housing quarantined coronavirus sufferers has collapsed...

13:30 - France announces its death toll among those who have contracted coronavirus has reached 11.

11:14 -  A cruise ship on Egypt's Nile River with over 150 tourists and local crew was in quarantine in the southern city of Luxor, after 12 people tested positive for the new coronavirus.

11:01 - Malta's first case of coronavirus has been detected in a 12-year-old Italian girl who lives on the island, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Saturday.

The girl tested positive for the illness early and is receiving treatment in the infectious diseases unit of the state hospital, the minister said, adding she "is doing well".

10:59 - Students and teachers returning from travel must undergo medical examination, UAE education ministry said.

10:51 - The number of deaths caused by coronavirus infections in Iran rose by 21 over the past 24 hours to reach 145, a health ministry official said.

The number of people testing positive for the virus increased by more than 1,000 over the past 24 hours, reaching 5,823 on Saturday, he said in a televised briefing.




A member of the civil defense team sprays disinfectant to sanitize an area in the neighbourhood of the house of the person who was diagnosed with coronavirus and died, in Kerbala, Iraq. (Reuters)

10:43 – The Dubai Civil Aviation Authority said it implements procedures to keep air travel ‘safe and secure.’

10:39 - The number of coronavirus patients in Germany stood at 684, the country's public health agency, the Robet Koch Institute, said, an increase of 45 over Friday evening.

10:21 – 114 Saudi citizens have reported travel to Iran amid coronavirus outbreak. Out of the 114 Saudis, 95 are currently in Saudi Arabia, 26 still in Iran, and seven elsewhere.

10:00 Bahrain announced six new coronavirus cases, bringing total number of infected cases to 62.

10:05 Oman health ministry recommends halting all activities and gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

09:43 Kuwait health ministry announced 3 new coronavirus cases in the country, bringing the total number of cases to 61.

09:39 – An Iranian lawmaker has died from coronavirus, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Saturday, in an another sign the disease is spreading within state institutions.

Iran is one of the countries outside China most affected by the epidemic. As of Friday, the country had reported 4,747 infections.




Members of the medical team spray disinfectant to sanitize outdoor place of Imam Reza's holy shrine, following the coronavirus outbreak, in Mashhad, Iran. (Reuters)

09:36 – Algeria announced two new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of those infected in the country to 19.

08:32 Fifteen American tourists have been quarantined in a hotel in the West Bank city of Bethlehem as part of precautions against the coronavirus, a Palestinian government spokesman said on Saturday.

There was no immediate comment from U.S. officials in the region.

05:10 – Florida Health Department said in a statement that two people who tested positive for COVID-19 have died in the state.

05:05 – Two people have tested positive for the new coronavirus after taking part in a pro-Israel lobby group’s conference in Washington which Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and dozens of lawmakers also attended.

04:51 – Qatar reported its 12th case of the virus, a Qatari national who had visited Iran, its health ministry said.

This video explaining how COVID-19 transmits person to person was produced by the World Health Organisation

Friday, March 6 (All times in GMT)

21:34 – The UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention announced on Friday 15 new coronavirus cases of different nationalities, taking to 45 the total infections in the country. The ministry also said that two Chinese patients have recovered, bringing to the total number of recoveries in the country to seven.

20:43 – Saudi Arabia’s Mataf - area of circulation around Makkah’s Kaaba - reopened for non-Umrah worshippers on Saturday, the Saudi Press Agency reported

20:18 – Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Sports said it will suspend public attendance at all sports events starting Saturday.

18:54 – In Bahrain, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Walid bin Khalifa Al Manea said that work is underway to implement the evacuation plan for Bahraini citizens in Iran.

"Work is continuing to transfer the citizens in Iran in stages, the first group of citizens will be transferred next Tuesday, and efforts are continuing to complete the various precautionary and preventive measures to preserve their safety and the safety of citizens and residents in the Kingdom of Bahrain," he added.


UN hosts Libyan military leaders in hopes of end to conflict

This handout picture released on October 19, 2020 by the United Nations Office at Geneva shows Deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Political Affairs in Libya Stephanie Williams (3rd R) and representatives wearing protective face masks, standing during the Libyan national anthem at the beginning of talks between the rival factions in the Libya conflict, as they resume in Geneva. (AFP)
Updated 41 min 34 sec ago

UN hosts Libyan military leaders in hopes of end to conflict

  • The meetings make up the security aspect of three-track talks, also involving political and economic tracks, that are aimed to lift Libya out of its grueling conflict that has ground on nearly ever since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011

GENEVA: Military leaders from Libya’s warring sides met on Monday in Geneva in hopes of a UN-brokered breakthrough that could pave the way for a “complete and permanent cease-fire” in the conflict-ridden North African country.

The meeting that began on Monday marks the fourth round of talks involving the Joint Military Commission under the watch of the head of the United Nations support mission for Libya, former US State Department official Stephanie Williams.
UN organizers say the round is expected to run through Saturday, and Williams’ mission “hopes that the two delegations will reach a solution to all outstanding issues in order to achieve a complete and permanent cease-fire across Libya.”
The meetings make up the security aspect of three-track talks, also involving political and economic tracks, that are aimed to lift Libya out of its grueling conflict that has ground on nearly ever since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Speaking at the start of the talks, Williams told the two sides that their success in these talks would have a positive effect on the political and economic tracks of the ongoing UN-brokered talks aiming at ending years-long Libya conflict.
Williams, who met on Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow, said encouraging separate meetings were held with the two delegations in the past two days.
The Geneva-based military talks came ahead of an upcoming political forum in Tunisia in November.
That forum aims to “generate consensus on a unified governance framework and arrangements that will lead to the holding of national elections,” the UN mission said.
Last month, the two sides reached preliminary agreements to exchange prisoners and open up air and land transit across the country’s divided territory.
This breakthrough also accompanied with the resumption of oil production.
Fighting has died down amid international pressure on both sides to avert an attack on the strategic city of Sirte, the gateway to Libya’s major oil export terminals.