By Salman Parviz

COVID-19 cases in the region

March 17, 2020 - 9:48
As cases soar affected countries scramble to action

TEHRAN - The coronavirus (COVID-19) is thought to have originated in Wuhan, China last December, has spread to more than 135 countries and territories. The global death toll from the virus as of March 16 passed 6,684 with more than 174,134 cases confirmed worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

COVID-19 death toll in Iran reached 853 the head of the Public Relations and Information Center of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Kianoush Jahanpour said on Monday, emphasizing that 14,991 Iranians have been infected.

Jahanpour added that 4,996 infected Iranians have recovered so far, adding that the number of laboratories at the diagnosis of the disease has reached 56 in the country.

In order to stop the spread of the disease schools and universities have been shut down and cultural and religious gatherings have been cancelled. It is also constantly disinfecting and sanitizing public places.
President Hassan Rouhani has said that the fight against the illness is being hampered by U.S. sanctions.
The following is some statistics on coronavirus spread in the region: 


Some people touted piety as a shield – they already washed and prayed five times a day. Others, even some officials, joked that the health system had been so bad, the country already so infested with germs and bacteria, that a new invading virus simply could not make a difference.

With its 21st positive case, testing remains extremely limited – only roughly 250 tests have been conducted until March 16, with Afghans fearing that the number of infected is much higher in the absence of capacity to detect and slow the spread of virus.
According to The New York Times Iran has disregarded the Afghan government’s plea to restrict border crossings, with as many as 15,000 people still crossing into Afghanistan daily.

Country is impoverished, with its health and nutrient systems gutted by the conflict.

The first positive case was reported in Herat Province, which shares a large border with Iran and is the main entry point to Afghanistan. The doctors at the regional hospital are simply overwhelmed. On Sunday, they had no masks until 11 a.m.

The virus could also derail efforts to start direct talks between Afghan government and the Taliban.


The country has not had a leader since November when mass protests forced Adel Abdul Mahdi from Office. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak the Iraqi government has banned large public gathering. It’s also ordered cafes, restaurants and clubs to close, reports Aljazeera.

But in Baghdad, life appears to be going on as normal and some business owners think the government’s response is exaggerated.

Iraq reported its first confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections on February 24 in Najaf. By February 29, there were eight confirmed cases in Iraq. The first confirmed case in Iraqi Kurdistan dates to March 1.

Iraq closed its border with Iran in late February, only allowing Iraqi citizens that were returning. On February 27, schools, universities and cinemas in Baghdad were closed, and other large public gathering (including major religious gatherings during Rajab were banned until March 7. Between March 8 and 16, trading with Kuwait was suspended.

In response to the outbreak Iraq and Jordan decided to restrict land and air travel with the country on March 10. Iraq banned travelers from Germany and Qatar from March 13 in an attempt to stop the disease from spreading. Travellers from China, France, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, South Korea and Thailand were also on the ban list.

On March 15, Andalu Agency quoting health officials reported 36 patients successfully recover from virus in Iraq.


On March 16, a spokesman for Kuwait’s Health Ministry said another 11 people were infected with the virus taking the total infections in the Persian Gulf state to 123.


Qatar has shut down incoming visits and implements move to support private sector. Measures, including the suspension of all incoming flights starting Wednesday for a preliminary two-week period, as the country takes precautionary measure, it was announced on Sunday.

An economic and financial package will provide incentives amounting to 75 billion Qatari riyals ($23bn) to help support the private sector during the outbreak.

The government said Qatari citizens would continue to be allowed into the country after they quarantine for two weeks.

The announcements came after Qatar’s health ministry announced 64 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the tiny Persian Gulf nation, taking its total number of cases to 401, reported Aljazeera.

So far 7,950 people have been tested for COVID-19 while four people have reportedly recovered.


The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Sunday confirmed 12 new cases of the COVID-19 one each is from South Africa, Australia, China, the Philippines, Lebanon, Britain, and three are from India. This brings the total number of cases in the UAE to 98.

The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial for a vaccine to protect against the new coronavirus, which is taking place at the Kaiser Permanent Health Research Institute in Seattle. The Public health officials say it will take a year to 18 months to fully validate any potential vaccine.

Testing will begin with 45 young, healthy volunteers with different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc. There's no chance participants could get infected from the shots, because they don't contain the virus itself. The goal is purely to check that the vaccines show no worrisome side effects, setting the stage for larger tests.


A 65-year-old woman, who was put under quarantine in Bahrain after she contracted the coronavirus, died on Monday, Bahrain News Agency said quoting the Health Ministry. The woman was Bahrain’s first coronavirus death.

All 214 active COVID-19 cases in the country, except one case, remain stable, according to the ministry.

Bahrain has closed educational institutes and a ban on travelling to some countries is placed.


The Dawn newspaper confirms 136 cases of coronavirus in the country as Sindh records 15 more cases. The total number of cases in Sind rise to 103..
All educational institutions across the country have already been closed for three weeks.


Turkey reports 12 new coronavirus cases in its largest daily rise, bringing total to 18, Health Minister Fathrettin Koca said on Monday. According to Reuters the country announced its first case last week.

Koca said two of the new cases were related to the first case reported in the country, seven had travelled from Europe and three from the United States.


The Arab state confirmed three new infections in the country, bringing the total to 15, the official Petra news agency quoted health officials as saying.
Two new cases include two Jordanian citizens who recently visited Spain.


Saudi Arabia ordered the closure on Sunday of malls, restaurants, coffee shops and public parks and gardens, while exempting supermarkets, pharmacies and food delivery.
Several local municipalities tweeted the directives, which Saudi-owned Arabiya television said would apply across the country, where 103 infections but no death have been reported.


Spain becomes fourth most virus-infected nation as 1,000 more cases reported by AP. Coronavirus cases in Spain rose by roughly 1,000 cases in 24 hours to 8,744 on Monday, and the number of fatalities reached 297.
Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska said a total lockdown could be the next step, after deploying the army to the streets and to clean train stations, ordering 46 million to stay at home and taking over control of private hospitals.


India reported the first confirmed case of the coronavirus on 30 January in the state of Kerala. The affected had a travel history from Wuhan, China.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases in India has touched 121, with Maharashtra reporting four cases, Kerala two, Karnataka one case. These cases are not included in the latest official update of 114 released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on 16 March. So far, India has recorded two corona virus deaths – one in Karnataka and the other in Delhi. Maharashtra tops the list with 37 confirmed positive cases. Kerala, which is the second top state in the list, has 21 positive active cases.


President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday expanded lockdown to main Philippine Island of 60 million.

The move to contain the virus, which has infected at least 140 people in the Philippines and killed a dozen, will come at a cost to an economy that draws more than 70 percent of its output from the main island of Luzon which includes the capital region.

The government would with immediate effect compel people to remain in their homes and reliant on deliveries of food and medical supplies, while transport and work would be suspended except essential services, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

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