CAIRO, March 20 (Xinhua) -- The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iran edged toward 20,000 on Friday, while Tunisia imposed a nationwide self-isolation to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Iran, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, said Friday that 1,433 people have died from COVID-19, which has infected a total of 19,644 people, 6,745 of whom have recovered.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the U.S. sanctions have failed to force the Iranian nation to give in.
Despite the "harshest ever sanctions in the history" imposed by the U.S., "we were not defeated; in fact, we stood up against U.S. pressure and resisted," Rouhani said in his Persian new year message for the Iranians.
In Tunis, Tunisian President Kais Saied decided Friday to impose a nationwide self-isolation in order to contain COVID-19. The 24 provinces of the country will be isolated from each other, as travels between cities will be suspended except for very extreme cases and maximum emergency.
The Tunisian health authorities said that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has risen to 54, after 15 new cases were confirmed Friday.
In Amman, Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh announced that Jordan will impose a curfew as of March 21 as part of its efforts to contain the coronavirus.
Under the curfew, which will last until further notice, all stores will be closed and the public will be given certain hours and days to purchase their basic needs. Anyone who violates the curfew will be jailed for no less than one year.
In Israel, Israel Prison Service announced the release of 500 prisoners as part of the measures against the spread of COVID-19. These prisoners are not considered dangerous, and have already served most of their prison term.
In Ankara, Turkey reported its fourth death from COVID-19, while the total number of confirmed cases in the country climbed to 359.
In Baghdad, Iraqi Health Ministry confirmed three more deaths from COVID-19 and 15 new cases, as the total number of the infected rose to 208.
Kuwait recorded 11 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 159, the Kuwaiti Health Ministry said.
Lebanon's Health Ministry announced that the number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 163. Health Minister Hamad Hassan urged people to stay at home to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Algeria on Friday reported two new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 11, while 90 cases were confirmed.
Morocco's Ministry of Health announced that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has grown to 74, three of whom have died and two have recovered so far.
Egyptian Health Ministry reported 29 new COVID-19 cases and one more death, raising the number of confirmed cases to 285, including eight deaths.
Egypt on Friday evacuated 1,700 Egyptian students stranded in Sudan, which has sealed off all sea ports, land crossings and airports since March 16 to contain the COVID-19 spread.
In Beirut, three Chinese doctors held a 1.5-hour online training of treating coronavirus patients for Lebanese medical workers and volunteers serving in refugee camps in Lebanon.
The training session, organized by two Chinese non-profit organizations Peaceland Foundation and Common Future Fund, was hosted by two senior physicians from Shanghai and one who is working in Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak in central China's Hubei Province.
The Chinese doctors gave an overview of COVID-19 symptoms and the ways to disinfect public places, treat suspected cases and prevent the spread of the virus.