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

  • 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.

Jordan reopens trade gateway with Syria after month-long COVID closure

Updated 11 min 32 sec ago

Jordan reopens trade gateway with Syria after month-long COVID closure

  • Authorities imposed back-to-back handling of goods
  • The closure hit trade that had already shrunk because of the impact of COVID-19

AMMAN: Jordan on Sunday resumed its land border traffic with Syria, following a more than month-long closure, after applying new rules to prevent truck drivers spreading the novel coronavirus into the kingdom, officials and businessmen said.
They said authorities imposed back-to-back handling of goods to ensure Syrian, Lebanese truck drivers and others entering the kingdom maintain a social distance from Jordanian customs officials.
Officials said in mid-August they had to close the crossing, the main gateway for goods from Lebanon and Syria to the Gulf, after dozens of infections among border officials linked to a spike in cases in neighboring Syria.
Before the decade-old conflict in Syria, the Nasib-Jaber crossing was also a transit route for hundreds of trucks a day transporting goods between Europe and Turkey and the Gulf in a multi-billion dollar annual trade.
The closure hit trade that had already shrunk because of the impact of COVID-19 and the Caesar Act — the toughest US sanctions yet that came into force in June and prohibited foreign companies trading with Damascus.
“We have had millions of dollars of losses as a result of the closure,” said Mohammad al Daoud, the president of the Jordanian Truck Owners’ Association that represents over 17,000 trucks.
The country’s other land crossings with Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinian territories have been only open for commercial goods since a lockdown in March to stem the pandemic.
Syrian authorities said 70 trailers carrying, mostly fresh produce, entered Jordan on Sunday, including transit cargo heading to Gulf markets and Iraq.
While the crossing was closed, Syria’s only normally operating frontier crossing had been with Lebanon, which itself has no other functioning land borders.
Lebanon was also hit hard by the closure. It relies on the crossing for overland connections to all other countries because its only other frontier is with Israel, with which it has no ties.
“This crossing is an economic lifeline for all our land exports,” said Ibrahim al Tarshishi, the head of the Lebanese farmers’ association. (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; editing by Barbara Lewis)