CAIRO, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Iran's COVID-19 cases rose by 2,483 to 58,226 on Sunday as the slowdown continued for five consecutive days in a row. Meanwhile, the tally of novel coronavirus infections in Israel surpassed 8,000.
The death toll from the viral respiratory disease in Iran rose by 151 to reach 3,603. So far, a total of 22,011 patients have recovered from the disease, while 4,057 remain in critical condition.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the extension of a ban on all sports activities until April 18 in a bid to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
But he added the existing restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 spread would be eased gradually in the following weeks.
Rouhani also denied that there are differences between two ministries over dealing with the pandemic. Media reports suggested that while the ministry of industry urged the resumption of economic activities, the ministry of health insisted on implementing the social distancing plan which started on March 27.
Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, blasted the recent U.S. move to block a loan by the International Monetary Fund to Iran to fight the COVID-19 outbreak as "a real instance of crimes against humanity."
In Turkey, the second hardest-hit country in the region, 3,135 new COVID-19 cases were reported, raising the tally of infections to 27,069.
The death toll from the virus reached 574, after 73 fatalities were added. Turkey's total number of recoveries from the coronavirus reached 1,042, while 1,381 patients are still in intensive care units.
In Israel, 579 people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the tally of infections to 8,430, of whom 546 have recovered. Six new deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 49.
Israel launched a 4-million-U.S.-dollar grant program for 30 urgent coronavirus researches, with an aim to slow down the pandemic and generate a better understanding of the disease.
Israel's Ministry of Defense and Israeli airline El Al announced a joint operation to fly medical equipment, including surgical masks, medical staff protective suits and respirators, from China for the fight against the coronavirus. The first plane is expected to land in Israel on Monday.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 294 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 1,799. Nineteen more patients made full recovery from the virus, taking the tally of the recoveries in the UAE to 144.
Qatar reported 279 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number of infections in the Gulf nation to 1,604, of whom 123 have recovered.
Saudi Arabia confirmed 206 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths from the virus, raising the tally of coronavirus infections to 2,385 and the death toll to 34. So far 488 patients have recovered from the disease after 68 recoveries were added on Sunday.
In Morocco, 107 new COVID-19 cases were announced, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 990. A total of 69 deaths from COVID-19 were reported, while 71 patients have recovered.
Moroccan King Mohammed VI granted pardon for 5,654 prisoners, and ordered strengthened protection of the detainees in prisons from the coronavirus.
In Cairo, Egyptian Health Ministry confirmed 103 new COVID-19 cases, raising the tally of novel coronavirus infections to 1,173.
Seven more Egyptians died from the viral respiratory disease on Sunday, increasing the death toll to 78. Media reports said former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril, 68, died late Saturday night in the Egyptian capital Cairo from COVID-19.
Iraq's Health Ministry confirmed 83 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 961, including 61 fatalities and 279 recoveries.
Kuwait reported 77 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally of infections to 556. Six more patients recovered from the disease, leading the total number of the cured to 99.
Algeria reported 69 new COVID-19 cases and 22 more deaths, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 1,320 and the death toll to 152.
Djamel Fourar, head of the COVID-19 Detection and Follow-up Commission, noted a drop in the rise in the coronavirus infections in Algeria for the second day in a row.
Palestine reported 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infections in the Palestinian territories to 234.