Iran's COVID-19 death toll edges toward 1,000 amid worsening epidemic situation

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-18 06:12:10|Editor: huaxia

CAIRO, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Iran on Tuesday reported 1,178 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 135 more deaths from the novel coronavirus, with the death toll edging toward 1,000.

Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education announced that the total number of COVID-19 cases increased to 16,169, as the death toll reached 988. A total of 5,389 people have recovered.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday called for a global campaign to disregard the U.S. anti-Iran sanctions, so to help Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East by the virus, to fight the raging epidemic.

"Unlawful U.S. sanctions drained Iran's economic resources, impairing ability to fight COVID-19," Zarif tweeted. "They (the sanctions) literally kill innocents."

The U.S. sanctions, reimposed after Washington's exit from the international pact on Iranian nuclear program in May 2018, have been hindering Iran's fight against the coronavirus, due to the shortage of medical supplies.

Qatar, the worst-hit Arab country, on Tuesday reported three new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of the confirmed cases to 442.

Turkey reported the first death from coronavirus infection, and 51 new COVID-19 cases, as the total number of confirmed cases climbed to 98 in the country.

In Israel, a total of 39 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases to 337, the Ministry of Health said. The ministry warned the Israeli public against leaving home except for emergency cases.

Israel also tightened restrictions on the entry of Palestinian workers, as only those work in the sectors essential to the economy, including health, agriculture, caregiving and construction, will be allowed in.

In Cairo, Egypt announced two new deaths from the coronavirus and 30 more cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 196.

Egyptian Health Ministry's spokesman Khaled Mujahid said both victims, a 78-year-old Italian lady and a 70-year-old Egyptian man from Cairo, died at isolation hospitals.

In Baghdad, Iraq's Health Ministry confirmed one new death from COVID-19 and 21 more cases, bringing the total number of the infected in the country to 154.

Lebanon's Health Ministry announced that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country increased to 120, after 11 new cases were confirmed.

Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad announced the creation of a fund to receive donations from Lebanese and non-Lebanese to help the country in its fight against COVID-19.

Kuwait reported seven new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 130. All the new cases were Kuwaiti citizens returning from Britain.

Turkey reported the first death infected with COVID-19 and 51 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, which bringing the total number of confirmed patients climbed to 98.

Morocco's Ministry of Health announced six new COVID-19 cases, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 44. All the new cases came from foreign countries.

Palestine reported two new COVID-19 cases, as the total number of infected people climbed to 41. The two cases were detected in the West Bank cities of Nablus and Ramallah.

Oman reported nine new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 33, 12 of whom have recovered.

The high committee in charge of dealing with the virus outbreak decided to impose a ban on entry of all foreigners and exit of Omani citizens, as well as on public gatherings, prayers in mosques and sports events.

Morocco reported one new COVID-19 case in the city of Casablanca, and the second death from the coronavirus infection, who was a 75-year-old man in the city of Sale, near the capital Rabat.

In Algiers, Algerian Health Ministry reported a fifth death from COVID-19, who was a 51-year-old man in Blida province. The Algerian Religious Affairs Ministry announced the closure of mosques as part of the measures to stem the spread of disease.

Algeria and Tunisia on Tuesday agreed to mutually close their land border, in a move to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In Amman, Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh announced that all malls and commercial centers will be closed to curb the coronavirus spread.