Coronavirus cases, deaths rise across the Middle East

Baghdad remains under strict government curfew to contain the novel coronavirus, but small groups of volunteers are making food packages for needy families. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 April 2020

Coronavirus cases, deaths rise across the Middle East

  • Public bus services in Dubai will be free of charge for people permitted to leave their homes during the extended sterilization period

DUBAI: The Middle East has encountered more coronavirus cases and fatalities, with Iran recording its biggest jump in deaths.

Countries are implementing tighter rules on international and domestic travel to strengthen efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Sunday, April 5 (All times in GMT)

21:20 - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is admitted to hospital for precautionary tests for COVID-19.  

18:13 - France reported 357 new coronavirus hospital deaths, bringing the toll to 8,078, and the number of confirmed cases in hospitals rose to 70,478 from 68,605 on Saturday.

17:34 - The UAE recorded 294 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases so far to 1,798, with 19 cases cured.

17:21 - Turkey’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 73 to total 574, and new confirmed cases rose by 3,135 to bring the country’s total to 27,069, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.
He added that 20,065 tests for the COVID-19 disease had been performed in Turkey in the last 24 hours.

17:16 - Morocco recorded 107 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths.

16:53 - Kuwait recorded 77 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 556.

16:20 - Algeria recorded 22 coronavirus deaths in one day, bringing the toll to 152, and 69 new infections, bringing the total to 1,320 cases.

16:14 - Italy recorded its lowest daily death toll from the novel coronavirus in over two weeks and saw the number of critical care patients decline for the second day.
The 525 official COVID-19 fatalities reported by the civil protection service were the lowest since 427 registered on March 19.

16:01 - Former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril died of coronavirus in Cairo.

15:40 - Iraq recorded 81 new coronavirus cases and five new deaths, bringing the total number of cases so far to 961.

15:19 - The number of people killed by the coronavirus in Canada has jumped by just over 20% to 258 in a day, official data posted by the public health agency showed on Sunday.
By 11:05 eastern time (1505 GMT), the total number of those diagnosed with the coronavirus had risen by almost 12% to 14,426. The respective figures on Saturday were 214 deaths and 12,924 positive diagnoses.

15:16 - New York state reported 594 deaths from the coronavirus and 8,327 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, increasing the numbers to 4,159 dead and 122,000 cases since the outbreak began, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

15:16 - Europe needs debt mutualization and a common Marshall plan to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Sunday.

14:59 - Mahmud Jibril, the former head of the rebel government that overthrew Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, died of the coronavirus.
Jibril, 68, died in Cairo where he had been hospitalized for two weeks, said Khaled Al-Mrimi, secretary of the Alliance of National Forces party founded by Jibril in 2012.

14:41 - Nearly 20 million jobs at risk in Africa due to coronavirus pandemic and the African government could lose 20% to 30% of fiscal revenue, according to an African Union study.

14:34 - Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry says it has launched an electronic service to receive requests for the return of citizens from abroad and set travel times.

The ministry said registration of requests to return citizens from abroad begins on Sunday and will continue for 5 days, adding that all returning citizens will be subjected to isolation for 14 days.

"We developed an integrated plan for the return of citizens, guaranteeing their safety," it said in a statement on Twitter.

14:32 - Saudi Arabia's King Salman directs the foreign ministry to work on the procedures of citizens wishing to return from abroad amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

14:18 - Egypt expects economic growth to slow to 4.5% in the third quarter and to 1% in the last three months of the 2019/2020 fiscal year to June due to the effects of the coronavirus, Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed said on Sunday.
The government had been targeting annual growth of 5.6%, but was now looking at 4.2%, she said.

13:33 - The United Kingdom’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 621 to 4,934 at 1600 GMT on April 4, the health ministry said on Sunday.
As of 0800 GMT, a total of 195,524 people had been tested of which 47,806 tested positive, the health ministry said.

12:41 - Saudi Arabia has confirmed 206 new coronavirus cases and five deaths, bringing totals to 2,385 infections, 34 deaths and 488 recoveries.

12:40 - Ethiopia’s health minister has reported the first death of a COVID-19 patient. The total number of cases in the country is 43 with four recoveries.

12:27 - Albania has recorded 28 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 361.

12:25 - Libya said total number of COVID-19 cases reached 9.

12:15 - The number of deaths caused by the new coronavirus in the Netherlands has increased by 115 to 1,766, health authorities said on Sunday.
Confirmed infections increased by 1,224 to 17,851, the Dutch Institute for Public Health said.

11:35 - Singapore’s health ministry on Sunday confirmed 120 more coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 1,309 infections and six deaths.

11:31 – The UAE cabinet held its second virtual meeting to discuss government efforts amid the coronavirus outbreak. It has ordered factories to mee the needs of the country’s health sector and issued other directives to support the community.



10:52 - South Sudan has confirmed its first case of COVID-19, its vice president said on Sunday.

10:45 - Lebanon started repatriating nationals stranded abroad in its first flight in weeks since it closed its international airport to stem the novel coronavirus.

09:54 - Iran’s total coronavirus death toll has reached 3,603, with cases raised to 58,226.

09:34 - Spain reported 6032 new coronavirus cases and 674 deaths, bringing totals to 130,759 infections and 12,418.

09:19 - Kuwait has announced 77 new coronavirus cases, bringing total to 556.

09:04 - Malaysia has reported 179 new coronavirus cases and four deaths, bringing total to 3,662.

08:47 - Lebanon has confirmed seven new coronavirus cases, increasing total to 527.

08:25 - Philippine Health Ministry has reported eight new coronavirus deaths and 152 new cases.

08:22 - Palestine has recorded nine new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 226.

08:21 - Morocco has announced 41 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 960.

08:13 - Jordan said it is to use drones and surveillance cameras to monitor compliance with a nationwide curfew imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

07:19 - More than 130 people were newly infected with the novel coronavirus in Tokyo, Japan’s NHK public broadcaster reported on Sunday, citing officials from the metropolitan government.

06:31 - Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has pardoned 5,654 prisoners and ordered measures to protect inmates from the coronavirus outbreak, the justice ministry said on Sunday.

06:22 - Oman has recorded 21 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 298.

06:04 - Greece has quarantined a second migrant facility this week after a 53-year-old man tested positive for coronavirus, the migration ministry said on Sunday. 

03:38 - Baghdad remains under strict government curfew to contain the novel coronavirus, but small groups of volunteers are making food packages for needy families.

“What we’re doing is a humanitarian duty toward society, and anyone who can afford it should do the same,” said businessman, Abu Hashim.

03:35 - Australian health officials said on Sunday they were cautiously optimistic about the slowing spread of coronavirus in the country but warned social distancing restrictions are to stay in place for months.

Confirmed cases rose by 181 during the 24-hour period to early Sunday, bringing the national total to 5,635, health ministry data showed. The death toll from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, rose to 34.

Saturday, April 4 (All times in GMT)

19:58 - Abu Dhabi will extend the closure of entertainment destinations including commercial centers, shopping malls and cinemas until further notice, state news agency WAM reported citing the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

19:42 - Public bus services in Dubai will be free of charge for people permitted to leave their homes during the extended sterilization period, state news agency reported citing the Roads and Transport Authority.

Taxis in the emirate will also provide a 50 percent discount on fares. 

17:46 - Egypt’s Minister of Health Dr. Hala Zayed arrived in Italy on Saturday with a military delegation to deliver medical aid equipment, protective suits, detergents and sanitizers transported by two jets, local daily newspaper Egypt Today reported.

Turbulent times in parliament: A new normal for Turkish politics?

Updated 12 min 38 sec ago

Turbulent times in parliament: A new normal for Turkish politics?

  • Two deputies from the HDP and one deputy from the main opposition CHP lost their positions on Thursday
  • Insights from Ankara suggest two more parliamentarians from the HDP may be stripped of their seats soon

ISTANBUL: After three opposition politicians were stripped of their status as members of parliament in Turkey on Thursday, June 4, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) made it clear that a new period had begun in Turkish politics, given the country’s preoccupation with economic deterioration and rising unemployment that has already rendered many voters disenchanted. 
Two deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and one deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lost their positions, and were arrested in an overnight operation on terror charges.
The Kurdish politicians, Leyla Guven and Musa Farisogullari, were detained, while the CHP deputy, Kadri Enis Berberoglu, was released from police custody after less than 24 hours as part of anti-coronavirus measures in Turkish prisons. Several HDP deputies were later beaten by police during a protest in Ankara over the imprisonment of their colleagues.
Insights from Ankara suggest two more parliamentarians from the HDP may be stripped of their seats soon as their files are being reviewed by the Turkish Court of Cassation. 
The crackdown on opposition figures does not end with politicians. The government is also working on a legislative change to the way bar associations elect their board members. Fifty bar associations recently released a joint statement against any move to limit their power and to increase pressure on the country’s already weakened judiciary.
The AKP and its coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party, are also working on another legislative amendment to ban the transfer of parliamentary deputies to other parties over fears that newly founded opposition parties could be strengthened with the transfer of deputies from the CHP to take part of upcoming elections.
Ten new political parties were established in Turkey over the past five months, bringing the total number to 91 — two of them, the Democracy and Progress Party, and the Future Party, to target disillusioned AKP voters and liberal segments of society.
“Turkey has been a consolidated authoritarian state for some time and attacks on the HDP are certainly not new,” said Paul T. Levin, director of the Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies.
“Going after the CHP would be a dramatic escalation, but they have been focused on Berberoglu for some time due to his involvement in the arms truck scandal,” he told Arab News.
Berberoglu, a former journalist, was arrested for providing dissident daily newspaper Cumhuriyet with confidential footage of Turkish National Intelligence Organization trucks allegedly carrying weapons to Syria.
According to Levin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be trying to weaken the opposition in advance of a snap election, that is widely expected to be held next year.  
“As for the bar associations, they have long been an important source of opposition to attempts to undermine the rule of law. It would really be a terrible blow to what remains of judicial independence if they were neutered,” he said.
There are still dozens of Kurdish politicians behind bars in Turkey, including parliamentarians, mayors and the party’s former co-chairs. The HDP released a statement following the arrests of Guven and Farisogullari, and said: “Turkey now witnesses yet another coup — this pro-coup mindset has been prevailing in parliament for 26 years.”