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Iran allocates funds to import COVID-19 vaccines; Kuwait starts national vaccination campaign

(Xinhua)    09:27, December 25, 2020

CAIRO, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Iran said on Thursday that it has allocated funds to buy COVID-19 vaccines from abroad as the obstacles created by U.S. sanctions have been removed. Meanwhile, Kuwait kicked off its national vaccination campaign.

Iranian Central Bank Governor Abdolnasser Hemmati said that Iran has allocated 200 million euros (243.73 million U.S. dollars) for importing the vaccines.

"There are no more obstacles in the way of purchasing coronavirus vaccine," Hemmati was quoted by Tasnim news agency as saying, referring to the U.S. sanctions that hamper Iran's importing goods from abroad.

Iran reported 6,178 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, raising the total nationwide infections to 1,183,182.

The pandemic has so far claimed 54,308 lives in Iran, up by 152 in the past 24 hours, said Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

A total of 924,685 people have recovered from the disease and been discharged from hospitals, while 5,371 remained in intensive care units, she added.

Kuwait launched on Thursday the national vaccination campaign against the COVID-19, as its nationwide coronavirus infections increased by 244 to 149,017 and its death toll rose by two to 926.

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah urged the citizens to continue social distancing measures, wearing masks and washing hands to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A day earlier, Kuwaiti Minister of Health Bassel Al-Sabah said the elderly and first-line workers will be given the jab priority in the vaccination campaign.

Turkey reported 18,102 new COVID-19 cases, including 3,218 symptomatic patients, and 254 more deaths from the virus, raising its tally of infections to 2,100,712 and its death toll to 19,115.

The total recoveries in Turkey rose by 33,985 to 1,935,292, while a total of 4,805 patients were treated in intensive care units.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported on Thursday 1,127 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total nationwide number to 588,803.

Iraq's death toll from the virus climbed to 12,744 with the addition of seven new deaths, the lowest since late May. The total number of recoveries surged by 1,549 to 527,341.

Morocco announced on Thursday 2,650 new COVID-19 cases and 44 more deaths, taking the tally of infections in the country to 425,864 and its death toll to 7,130.

Morocco has secured acquisition of 65 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China's Sinopharm as well as Britain's Oxford University and AstraZeneca, Health Minister Khalid Ait Taleb announced at the weekly cabinet meeting.

The North African country is targeting a mass vaccination of 25 million people which represents 80 percent of its total population.

Saudi Arabia confirmed 189 new COVID-19 cases and 11 more deaths, raising its total infections to 361,725 and its death toll to 6,159. The tally of recoveries in the kingdom increased by 190 to 352,608.

Jordan reported 1,707 new COVID-19 cases and 29 more fatalities from the disease, taking its tally of confirmed infections to 283,690 and its death toll to 3,681. The tally of recoveries in the kingdom rose by 2,338 to 254,496.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recorded 1,311 new coronavirus cases and two more deaths, bringing its tally of infections to 198,435 and its total fatalities to 647. The total recoveries in the UAE rose by 1,495 to 174,479.

Israel has decided to start a third full nationwide lockdown from 5 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) on Sunday, said a joint statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Health on Thursday.

The restrictions in the upcoming lockdown will include a ban on travelling more than 1,000 meters from home, with the exception of individual exercise, special cases and vaccination. Staying in the residence of another person is also prohibited.

In addition, all businesses and recreational centers will be closed, except for restaurant deliveries, while the scope of activity for workplaces that do not receive the public will be reduced by 50 percent.

The tourist sites in the southern resort city of Eilat and the Dead Sea, which have so far operated under restrictions, will also be closed in this lockdown.

The cost of the upcoming nationwide coronavirus lockdown in Israel will total 6 billion new shekels (about 1.86 billion U.S. dollars), the state's Ministry of Finance said.

As of Wednesday, Israel had recorded a total of 385,022 COVID-19 cases, including 3,150 deaths and 351,875 recoveries.

The Omani Health Ministry announced 54 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Sultanate to 128,290.

The tally of recoveries in Oman rose by 263 to 120,441, while its death toll remained unchanged at 1,491 as no new death was reported, the ministry said in a statement.

Qatari Health Ministry reported 157 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 142,605.

The total number of recoveries in Qatar increased by 140 to 140,404, while the total fatalities remained at 243 for the sixth day running, the ministry said.

In Tunisia, the health ministry said all arriving passengers must present a negative PCR test for the coronavirus within 72 hours before the trip, and a 14-day quarantine will be required for them, who can spend the compulsory quarantine in a hotel or at home.

Tunisia reported on Wednesday a total of 125,000 COVID-19 cases and 4,275 deaths from the disease, while its total recoveries stood at 97,026.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Meng Bin, Bianji)

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