Jordan summit still on after Iraq minister catches COVID-19: officials

Jordanian army members stand guard at a check point after the start of a nationwide curfew, amid concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Amman, Jordan March 21, 2020. Reuters
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Updated 24 August 2020

Jordan summit still on after Iraq minister catches COVID-19: officials

AMMAN: An Amman summit between Jordan, Iraq and Egypt will go ahead Tuesday, officials said, with extra precautions after Iraq’s telecommunications minister tested positive for COVID-19.
Minister Arkan Al-Shaybani and fellow Iraqi officials were tested upon landing in Amman on Friday and were put under confinement following the positive result, according to a statement by Jordan’s information minister Amjad Al-Adayla.
“This required implementing medical procedures put in place to protect the health of our guest while he is in the kingdom,” Adayla said in comments carried Monday by Jordan’s official Petra news agency.
Shaybani was traveling to Amman for a tripartite summit on Tuesday between the leaders of Iraq, Jordan and Egypt to discuss trade, telecommunications and oil.
The one-day meeting will bring King Abdullah II of Jordan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi together with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhemi for the first time.
Iraq’s oil and trade ministers will also travel to Jordan.
The gathering comes just days after Kadhemi’s return from Washington, which has long urged its allies in the region to band together against Iranian influence.
Jordan, Egypt and Iraq have held similar meetings in the past two years, mostly focused on infrastructure and coordinating the fight against jihadists.
“The summit will still take place on Tuesday but the size of the delegations and the meeting times will be limited as a precautionary measure,” Kadhemi’s spokesman, Ahmad Mullal Talal, told AFP.
Iraq’s coronavirus caseload has topped 205,000, with deaths at nearly 6,500.
The World Health Organization has warned that Iraq’s cases are “exponentially rising to an alarming and worrying level, suggesting a major health crisis soon.”
Shaybani is the first Iraqi minister to contract the novel coronavirus. Around two dozen members of parliament have been tested positive in recent months.
The virus claimed the life of one Iraqi parliamentarian last month and a presidential adviser last week.


Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

Updated 26 min 9 sec ago

Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

  • Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks
TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday reported its highest single-day toll of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with more than 5,000 new infections, as the country struggles to cope with a surge in transmission.
Iran’s health ministry also reported that 322 people had died from the virus, pushing the death toll over 31,000. The new infection count on Tuesday eclipsed the previous high of 4,830 last week, shining a light on the nation’s floundering efforts to combat the virus.
Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks. Monday’s death toll shattered its previous single-day record, prompting state news outlets to declare it a “black day.”
Hospitals in the hard-hit capital of Tehran are overflowing. Last week, health officials announced that the city had run out of intensive care beds for virus patients.
The increase comes after Iranians packed cafes and restaurants at vacation spots during recent national holidays, and after schools reopened for in-person instruction last month.
The government has resisted a total lockdown because it does not want to further weaken an economy already devastated by unprecedented US sanctions. The Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers.
With the death toll skyrocketing, authorities are now starting to impose more restrictions. The government closed museums, libraries, beauty salons, schools and universities in Tehran earlier this month, and imposed a mask mandate outdoors.