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COVID-19 cases in Mideast exceed 2 million with different outbreak situations, restrictive measures among countries

(Xinhua)    09:18, August 31, 2020

SYRIA-DAMASCUS-GYM-COVID-19-MEASURES

A worker cleans fitness equipment at a gym in Damascus, capital of Syria, on Aug. 30, 2020. In Syria, 75 new cases were detected on Sunday, raising the overall number of infections in the government-controlled areas to 2,703, which included 614 recovered cases and 109 fatalities. (Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)

CAIRO, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The total number of COVID-19 infections in the Middle East has exceeded 2 million as of Sunday. As the pandemic situation varies from place to place, different measures have been taken by countries in the region to fight the virus.

COVID-19 RESURGENCE WITH WORK RESUMPTION

Iran, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East region, reported 1,754 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 373,570, including 21,462 deaths and 321,421 recoveries.

On March 5, Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education announced the launch of a national plan to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country with the lowest 802 daily new cases reported on May 5.

However, after the country eased the anti-coronaviurs restrictions under economic pressure, Iran saw a resurgence in the pandemic, setting a record daily rise in COVID-19 cases on June 4 with 3,574 new ones reported.

The Iraqi Health Ministry reported 3,731 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the total nationwide number to 231,177, including 6,959 deaths and 172,880 recoveries.

Iraq has been taking a series of measures to contain the pandemic since February when the first COVID-19 case emerged in the country. It reported the highest 4,576 daily new COVID-19 cases on Aug. 18 after the canceling of the weekly three-day full curfew to replace them with partial curfew every week.

Turkey's total diagnosed cases reached 268,546 with 6,326 deaths and 243,839 recoveries. The country's daily new cases hit the highest number on April 11 with 5,138 new ones and reached the lowest 786 on June 2, while the number re-emerged to rise to about an average of 1,500 daily new ones after the work resumption in June.

In Lebanon, which experienced the similar situation, the coronavirus cases rose by 595 to 16,870 on Sunday, while the death toll went up by five to 160.

Israel's total COVID-19 infections reached 114,020. The daily new cases in the country dropped to single digits on May 17. With the improvement of the pandemic, Israel gradually eased restrictions. In July and August, the number of new cases in a single day soared, reaching the highest 2,308 cases On July 28.

In Morocco, the tally of infections increased to 61,399 after 1,343 new COVID-19 cases were added with 46,355 recoveries and 1,111 deaths.

Since the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in March, the Moroccan government has taken a series of severe measures. The number of active cases in Morocco on June 5 decreased to 803, reaching the lowest level since early April.

Starting on June 10, the Moroccan government has gradually implemented a multi-stage lockdown lifting. The country reported 1,776 new COVID-19 cases on Aug. 15, the biggest single-day increase so far since the outbreak.

DOWNWARD TREND AMID CAUTIOUS MEASURES

Saudi Arabia's tally of coronavirus infections rose to 314,821 on Sunday with an addition of 910 new cases amid a continuing downward trend, including 289,667 recoveries and 3,870 deaths.

Since the first coronavirus case was detected in the kingdom on March 2, the daily increase of new infections saw a continuous jump, reaching its peak with 4,757 daily new cases on June 18. Since July 7, the daily new infections started to drop, falling below 1,000 for the first time since mid-April on Saturday.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 362 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 69,690, which included 60,600 recoveries and 382 deaths.

The UAE reported a record 994 daily new cases on May 22 since it reported its first confirmed case on Jan. 29. The number of confirmed daily new cases fell slowly to a four-month low on Aug. 3 with 164 cases before rebounding to a six-week high of 491 on Aug. 27.

Some schools in the country resumed classes on Sunday. The Ministry of Education said that any school with more than one COVID-19 case will be closed for disinfection for a period of time and all courses will be transferred to distance learning.

Qatar has confirmed a total of 118,575 coronavirus cases, including 115,430 recovered cases and 197 deaths.

Since mid-June, the number of daily new cases in Qatar has been decreasing, dropping to 1,247 on June 15. The single-day new cases in the country fell below to 500 since July 11.

The country will gradually lift quarantine restrictions in four stages.

In Kuwait, the tally of infections hit 84,636 on Sunday with 412 new cases, including 530 deaths and 76,650 recoveries. For three months, the rate of COVID-19 diagnosis in Kuwait has been relatively stable while the virus infection shows a downward trend.

On Aug. 18, Kuwait moved into the fourth phase of its five-phase plan to return to normal life.

But with no more than 5,000 tests a day, the pandemic in Kuwait has not reached a peak according to the diagnostic rate.

CONCERNS OVER WAR-TORN COUNTRIES

In Syria, 75 new cases were detected on Sunday, raising the overall number of infections in the goverment-controlled areas to 2,703, which included 614 recovered cases and 109 fatalities.

Medical sources have said that the number of infections in government-controlled areas is much higher than the figure published by the health ministry that lacks the capacity of conducting wide scale COVID-19 tests.

Meanwhile, the total number of coronavirus cases in Yemen's government-controlled provinces increased to 1,953 with 564 deaths and 1,123 recoveries.

Yemen's COVID-19 mortality rate has been stood at around 28 percent, making it one of the countries with the highest coronavirus mortality rate in the Middle East region.

In Palestine, the total number of infections increased to 29,063 including 166 deaths and 19,479 recoveries.

Local medical experts pointed out that in the past two and a half months, the pandemic situation in Palestine has become increasingly serious. Besides the easing of anti-coronavirus measures, the pandemic situation in neighboring Israel is worsening and spreading to Palestine.

The vast majority of confirmed cases of the virus in Palestine are people who work in Israel or have close contacts in the neighboring country.


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(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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