Coronavirus Middle East - First death in Morocco, Jordan restricts travel and more cases in UAE

Coronavirus Middle East - First death in Morocco, Jordan restricts travel and more cases in UAE
Global death toll has hit around 4,000 with more cases of infection being reported in the Middle East. (File/AFP)
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Updated 11 March 2020

Coronavirus Middle East - First death in Morocco, Jordan restricts travel and more cases in UAE

Coronavirus Middle East - First death in Morocco, Jordan restricts travel and more cases in UAE
  • Saudi Arabia on Monday evening announced five new cases of the new coronavirus

DUBAI: New cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the Middle East, as countries in the region and the rest of the world double down efforts to combat its spread.

Tuesday, March 10 (All times in GMT)

20:46 - US Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden abruptly canceled scheduled rallies Tuesday night in Cleveland amid concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus — as public health fears began transforming the 2020 race.

20:30  - Four Saudis have recovered from the coronavirus after exiting the medical quarantine in Bahrain.

18:22 - The Saudi embassy in France called on its citizens present on French soil to quickly register their data and update their accommodations on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website - passport registration service - or via e-mail: [email protected] in order to ensure their safety.

18:15 President Donald Trump said he has not been tested for the coronavirus, saying he has no symptoms of the disease and was examined by the White House's physician.

17:45 - Italian health authorities announced the death toll had jumped by 168 to 631, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.
The total number of confirmed cases rose at a much slower rate than recently seen, hitting 10,149 against a previous 9,172, but officials warned that the region at the epicenter, Lombardy, had provided incomplete data.

16:42 - Algeria's health ministry said all political, sports and cultural gatherings have been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

16:35 - A Lebanese man died from the novel coronavirus, a health ministry official said, marking the country’s first recorded death from an epidemic that has infected 52 people nationwide.
The 56-year-old had been receiving treatment at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri state hospital, the ministry official told AFP, adding that he had recently returned from Egypt, where novel coronavirus infections have also been detected.

15:42 - Jordan closes border crossings with Israeli-occupied West Bank and bans travel to Lebanon and Syria due to coronavirus, said health minister Saad Jaber.

He added that the country will also bar overland passenger traffic from Iraq and to ban travellers from Germany, Spain and France from entering its territory from next Monday due to the coronavirus.

15:36 - Qatar's health ministry says six new cases of coronavirus have been recorded.

14:53 - All French Ligue 1 and second division matches will be played behind closed doors until April 15, the French football league announced Tuesday.

14:17 - The Palestinian health ministry said three new coronavirus cases found in Bethlehem, bringing the total number to 29.

14:15 - Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed says “we took samples from boats in Aswan and Luxor, all of which are negative,” and says plans to import scanners for all border crossings. She confirmed 59 coronavirus cases in Egypt and said 26 cases were recovered on board the tourist boat.

13:55 - The British death toll from the coronavirus outbreak has risen to six. The patient who was being treated at Watford General Hospital, north of London, had been infected inside the UK. The number of cases on Tuesday rose to 373, up from 319 the day before.

13:45 – United Nations Special Rapporteur on Iran Javaid Rehman said it was "very unfortunate and disturbing" that political prisoners remain in detention given the coronavirus outbreak. He added that Iran's response to the outbreak had been too little too late.

13:35 - All upcoming professional football games in Spain and Portugal, as well as some in Germany and a European Championship qualifying match, will be played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus outbreak.

13:13 - The Vatican’s Saint Peter’s Square and its main basilica were closed to tourists on Tuesday as part of a broader clampdown aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus.
The Holy See said the measures will remain in place until April 3, when Italy’s nationwide restrictions on public gathering are also due to end.

12:58 - The Spanish government said Tuesday it was suspending all air traffic from Italy for two weeks over coronavirus fears, the official state bulletin said.

12:53 – Morocco reported its first coronavirus death, the country’s health ministry said.

11:54 – The Saudi Cabinet of Ministers condemened Iran for not stamping the passports of nationals visiting the Islamic Republic despite an ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

11:27 – Israel has reported 55 cases of coronavirus, 26 of them in the West Bank.

10:50 – Total coronavirus cases in Iran have increased to 8,042 and the number of deaths to 291 after 54 patients died, the highest one-day toll, a health ministry spokesman said.

10:22 – Egyptian Ministry of Health announced the recovery of 26 patients from the coronavirus.

10:10 – Sources at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the COVID-19 has spread in four states in Syria.

10:08 – The UAE’s Ministry of Health announced 15 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number to 74, state news agency WAM reported. All new patients were already quarantined as part of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the disease. The ministry said the novel cases were in a stable condition and receiving treatment. In total, there were 12 recoveries and no reported deaths. The new patients were three Italians, two Emiratis, two Sri Lankans, two Britons, two Indians, a German, a South African, a Tanzanian and an Iranian.

10:01 – British Airways has cancelled all flights to and from Italy.

10:00 - Dubai’s Emirates airline is operating limited flights to Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam for Saudi nationals only. Other nationals holding the G20 Summit permit will only be allowed to travel to Riyadh.

09:58 – Lebanon has recorded its first death from coronavirus, a patient who had returned from Egypt, Lebanese broadcasters reported.

Sanitary workers disinfect the desks and chairs at the Lebanese parliament on March 10, 2020. (AFP)

09:38 – Poland’s government has decided to cancel all mass events due to the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday.
“At this morning’s meeting we took a decision to call off all mass events,” Morawiecki told a news conference.

09:20 – New case of coronavirus identified in Bahrain, bringing the number ongoing cases to 88. 

08:48 – European budget airline easyJet has cancelled the majority of its flights to and from Milan, Venice and Verona after the whole of Italy was placed under lockdown until next month to tackle coronavirus.

08:40 – China would ease travel curbs within locked-down Hubei province, an official said.

07:34 – Kuwait has confirmed four new cases of coronavirus during the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 69.

06:58 – Morocco, Malta and Norweigian Air have stopped all travel links with Italy because of the coronavirus outbreak.

06:44 – A German woman on holiday in northern Cyprus has been diagnosed with coronavirus, Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday, the first recorded case in the breakaway state. Northern Cyprus is only recognised by Turkey.

04:26 – Canada has recorded its first death from the new coronavirus, health officials in the westernmost province of British Columbia announced Monday.

The victim, a man living at an elderly care facility, “was infected with COVID-19 (and) passed away last night,” the province’s health officer Bonnie Henry told reporters. Officials have not released the victim’s age.

Canada has recorded more than 70 confirmed coronavirus infections, nearly all of which are in British Columbia or Ontario, the most populated province.

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

Monday, March 9

22:35 – The Saudi government has given nationals who wish to return to the Kingdom three days to make their journey from the UAE and Bahrain.

20:40 Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health announced on Monday evening five new cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the Kingdom to 20.

16:51 Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said on Twitter he spoke to World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom about the latest developments on the coronavirus outbreak, including international efforts to combat it.

12:24 – Oman’s Ministry of Health (MoH) has issued a statement clarifying the steps that travelers who returned from Egypt after February 22, have to take.

UN Security Council urged to enhance cooperation with Arab League

UN Security Council urged to enhance cooperation with Arab League
Updated 3 min 32 sec ago

UN Security Council urged to enhance cooperation with Arab League

UN Security Council urged to enhance cooperation with Arab League
  • Call for council members to unite behind Arab causes, and consider the views and concerns of the peoples of the region
  • States that are most susceptible to Iran’s malign regional behavior should not have to face it alone, says US envoy

NEW YORK: The problems that continue to plague the Arab world were top of the agenda for the UN Security Council on Monday, as it considered ways in which cooperation with the League of Arab states might be enhanced.
Members discussed the protracted conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, and the stalled Middle East peace process, as they agreed that multilateralism and cooperation are key requirements for peace.
Tunisia holds the presidency of the Security Council this month, and the meeting was convened at the request of Tarek Ladeb, the country’s permanent representative to the UN. His invitation stressed the need for a more effective partnership between the UN and the Arab League, and evoked Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, which sets out the role of regional organizations in efforts to maintain peace and security.
Both organizations were established in 1945 with the purpose of guaranteeing international peace and security. Cooperation between the two has grown over the years to encompass many aspects of this, such as conflict prevention and resolution, mediation, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, human rights and humanitarian aid, refugees, human and political development, countering terrorism, the prevention of violent extremism, and sustaining peace and disarmament. More recently they have addressed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, and in 2019 a liaison office was established by the organizations in Cairo.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, called on the Security Council to unite behind Arab causes, and urged the permanent members to limit their use of the power of veto. He also asked the council to take into consideration the views and concerns of Arabs about conflicts in the Middle East, by helping to prevent external interference in Arab affairs, protecting the region from weapons of mass destruction, and ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
Ahmed Abul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, told the council that the “dangerous mix” of the pandemic and continuing conflicts has taken a heavy toll on the region. He also said that a two-state solution to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which appears more elusive than ever, must be reaffirmed.
“We look forward to the new American administration rectifying policies and procedures that are not useful, and engaging in a fruitful political process with the support of influential regional and international parties,” he said.
“This would give the Palestinian people renewed hope that the international community will stand by its side in its noble aspiration to achieve freedom and independence.”
Abul Gheit also condemned “regional powers” for their continued interference in the affairs of Arab nations.
“It has become apparent to all that this interference has destabilized the region as a whole,” he said. “It has adversely affected the security of international maritime-navigation routes, which are a lifeline for international trade.
“It has also become apparent that this interference perpetuates existing conflicts and further complicates them. In Syria, five countries are interfering militarily in an apparent way. The security situation remains tumultuous and precarious, especially in the northwest, northeast and in the south.”
Rosemary DiCarlo, the under-secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, said that the COVID-19 pandemic has “exacerbated strains on the multilateral system, just as the need for solidarity and cooperation has never been more critical.”
She thanked the Arab League for its engagement with peacekeeping efforts in a number of protracted conflicts. This includes support for the UN’s envoy to Syria and the Syrian Constitutional Committee, upholding the international consensus on the two-state solution, its active role in brokering the Oct. 23 ceasefire in Libya, and its support for Sudan’s transition to democracy.
In Yemen the support of the league and key member states is crucial, she added, to the implementation of “the world’s largest aid operation, and urgently address the growing risk of famine before it is too late.”
DiCarlo expressed hope that this month’s AlUla Declaration, an agreement by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to mend relations with Qatar, will help to enhance regional security and prosperity. She called for restraint in the region and dialogue to ease tensions.
Rodney Hunter, the political coordinator for the US mission to the UN, commended “our friends and allies in the (Arab League) for standing firm against re-admitting (President Bashar) Assad’s Syria, and not normalizing relations until an inclusive political process is underway (in the country).”
He added: “There will be no foreign reconstruction assistance until the (Syrian) regime has fully committed to a political solution that is outlined in Security Council Resolution 2254.”
Regarding Iran, Hunter said that the regime in Tehran “remains the most significant threat to regional peace and security, engaged in malign activity across the region from Lebanon to Saudi Arabia.”
Iran-backed militias in Iraq “routinely engage in a statewide theft of Iraqi state resources, conduct targeted killings and stoke sectarian violence,” he added, vowing that the US will continue to “aggressively press the Iranian regime to end its role in this conflict and curtail its support for terrorist groups and militias.”
He said: “Individually, states are susceptible to Iran’s coercion, intimidation and malign behavior — and these states should not have to go it alone.”
Hunter also commended the Arab nations that have normalized relations with Israel in recent months and called for others to follow suit. Speaking on the day of the annual US commemoration of the life and achievements of Martin Luther King, Hunter quoted the renowned civil rights leader, saying: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”
Vassily Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, said: “The Russian concept of security in the Persian Gulf is an invitation to dialogue.” In a clear jab at the US, he added: “This is an invitation to peace, in counterbalance to an invitation to war.”
He called for an end to what he described as “the arms race and weapon display” and then he, too, evoked the memory of Martin Luther King, highlighting “a quote which apparently (the Americans) do not like: ‘A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.’”