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Surge sees Iran back atop Middle East cases

China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-10 09:54
An Iranian man wears a protective face mask, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as he walks in Vali-E-Asr street, in Tehran, Iran, May 20, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

CAIRO - Iran has re-emerged as the country hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Middle East, with a spike in infections taking the number of confirmed coronavirus cases above 175,000.

Iran reported a total of 175,927 cases on Tuesday, after registering 2,095 new ones over the previous day.

The pandemic has so far claimed the lives of 8,425 Iranians, according to the health ministry. Some 138,457 patients have been discharged from hospitals, with 2,619 still in a critical condition.

Iran's health officials have urged people to wear face masks in public places, particularly on public transport, as the country resumes business and social activities.

In Turkey, now the second hardest-hit country in the Middle East, the number of cases increased by 989 on Monday to 171,121, according to Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

Nineteen people died in the latest 24-hour period, taking the death toll to 4,711, and the number of recovered patients to 141,380, Koca said.

Turkey's flag-carrier Turkish Airlines on Monday announced that it would offer a 40-percent discount on tickets for healthcare workers across the globe.

"The Turkish Airlines started a new campaign for the healthcare workers who are working selflessly to combat the COVID-19 pandemic," the airline said.

With no significant signs of a slowdown in the pandemic, Saudi Arabia registered 3,369 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the accumulated infections in the kingdom to 105,283.

The death toll from the virus increased to 746 with 34 fatalities reported in the latest 24-hour period, while the number of patients who have recovered reached 74,524 - 1,707 of them were added since Sunday.

Egypt on Monday registered 1,365 new cases, raising the total number of infections to 35,444, the health ministry said.

The death toll from the disease in the North African country rose to 1,271 after 34 fatalities were added, while a total of 9,375 recoveries have been registered.

The Israeli Ministry of Health reported 169 new cases on Monday, raising the total number to 18,032. The death toll remained at 298.

Halt in easing curbs

Israel has decided to halt an easing in restrictions that had been planned for the coming days after the increase in cases, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

Accordingly, train services did not resume on Monday, as earlier planned, while the reopening of theaters and cinemas - scheduled for June 14 under restrictions - will be postponed for at least one week.

"There is a very sharp rise in illness," Netanyahu said in a statement. "The first thing we've decided to do is put the brakes on it. We've stopped all the easing we were going to put in place in the next few days."

Israel could already be facing a doubling in the infection rate within 10 days, Netanyahu said. He urged people to keep social distancing, wear face masks and maintain good hygiene.

Iraq's Health Ministry confirmed on Monday 1,115 new cases, taking total infections to 13,481 in the country. Twenty-four more people died from the virus since the previous day, raising the death toll to 370. Some 5,572 patients have recovered.

Xinhua - Agencies

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