Coronavirus in the Middle East: Daily updates part IV: From March 21
Updated: Mar 27
Since our last installment on March 11 of the Middle East Coronavirus Daily Update (MECDU) we have seen major rises in the number of cases. Turkey and Sudan have seen their first cases on March 11 and 13 respectively.
Many countries, especially those that are divided or in the midst of war and have ungoverned spaces, have not reliably reported numbers. There are no reported cases in Libya, Yemen or Syria. However that does not mean there are not cases. Areas like Gaza do not appear to be able to test for them. The Syrian regime says there are no cases as of March 20. However Northern Cyprus has seen cases suddenly rise to 20.
Our researchers have documented the coronavirus threat throughout the region:
February 24 Iran's suffers from coronavirus
February 25 US military prepares for coronavirus
February 26 Iran's incompetent response
March 5 than 3,000 infected in Iran
March 8 Iran spreads antisemitic conspiracy theories
March 9 Saudi Arabia codons off Qatif
March 10 Mentioned in Politico
March 11 Turkey's first case
March How many Iranian officials have died
March 12 Israel's response
March Israel and Iran both view "war" on virus
March 19 Eastern Syria lacks coronavirus testing.
March 17 Refugees at risk on Greek-Turkey border
March 19 Coronavirus threat to the Gulf states.
March 19 Israel's crackdown on the virus
March 19 Iran could lash out.
March 20 Iran's failed response continues
March 20 US repositions forces in Iraq amid pandemic
What follows are our daily updates from the region, for previous installments see
PART III: Coronavirus and the Middle East
Turkey: 607 cases Death toll rises to 9. 670 cases. "Health Minister Fahrettin Koca added that 311 out of 3,656 tests conducted on suspected cases in the last 24 hours had come back positive." Also new restrictions: Hotels and other accommodation facilities must now get detailed information on where their guests recently traveled to and their future travel plans, said the Health Ministry.
Israel: 705 cases. First death recorded. More than 400,000 unemployed, 6,000 registered an hour on Friday, more than 700,000 or a million will be out of work by end of month say reports, a third of the workforce. Few pray at Temple Mount or Old City due to restrictions.
Iran: 19,644 cases. Cancels Newroz due to virus. Prisoners reportedly riot. Rouhani announces weeks of restrictions, seeks to help online purchases and other methods. Imran Khan says sanctions against Iran are unfair. French researcher freed. "Our country is surrounded by sanctions, but we have been able to take appropriate measures to control the disease...to review the events of the past month and answer some of our guest questions, we asked "Alireza Raisi, Deputy Minister of Health."- Fars News. Iran seeks masks from UK. Zarif slams Pompeo for "hypocrittical" offers of coronavirus assistance. Red Crescent has 2 million volunteers to aid with the outbreak.- ISNA.
ISNA looks at why the disease was not contained in Qom:
"Rumors that the Ministry of Health was aware of a coronary outbreak in Qom in the days before February 6 and why Qom was not quarantined in these conditions. But because of the election, its existence and prevalence have been concealed, it's not true. Two or three days before the parliamentary elections and when the disease and finally the deaths of two people were confirmed as a result of the coronation in Qom, the Minister of Health had a special meeting with the First Vice President and noted the recommendations and matters to be observed. Was. Therefore, after making sure about the outbreak of coronavirus."
Libya: Army (Haftar) sent to deal with coronavirus in east of country.
he explained that the 70 cases included 49 cases in Riyadh, 11 cases in Jeddah, two cases in Makkah Al Mukarramah, and one case in Madinah, Dammam, Dhahran, Qatif, Al Baha, Tabuk, Bisha and Hafr Al-Batin. The ministry stated that the total number of cases infected with the new Coronavirus in the Kingdom reached 344, of which 8 had recovered. "11 are from the countries of Morocco, India, Jordan, the Philippines, Britain, the Emirates and Switzerland." Al-Arabiya.
Qatar: 470 cases. Fears for foreign workers. "It is reported that parts of the industrial zone in Qatar, Doha - which are residential camps for a large number of migrant workers - have been closed tightly after hundreds of construction workers were infected with the coronavirus." Amnesty International has expressed concern. "The organization said that the Qatari authorities refused to treat the workers, and placed large numbers of them in unqualified hospitals lacking health care."
Lebanon 177 cases. Beirut under quarantine, concerns it takes 24 hours to get a test and results, also over Palestinian refugee access to health care.
Palestinian Authority: 52 cases Four new cases.
Oman 52 cases.
Jordan 85 cases enters full curfew. Announcement link. Security forces deny a case in Marj al-Hamam (مرج الحمام). Irbid is deserted due to curfew. The head of the Development, Health and Education Committee at the National Center for Human Rights, Ibrahim Ibrahim Al-Badour: "We must break the link of the virus spread." 31 arrested for violating curfew.
Gaza: Health system already at point of collapse before virus cases.
Afghanistan: 24 cases "Nowruz this year was unusually quiet in Herat due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the city's popular sites seeing no festivities and even the green areas on the outskirts remaining deserted. The western Afghanistan city, close to the country's border with Iran, has been on the front line of the pandemic and saw its first coronavirus case towards the end of February. Since then, people in the city have mostly kept to their home. " - Al-Jazeera.
Pakistan: 519 cases.
Algeria: 94 cases
Morocco: 86 cases.
Malta: 64 cases. Cyprus: 70 cases and Northern Cyprus 20 cases
Egypt: 285 cases.
Egypt: A Major General has reportedly died of the virus.
Iraq: First cases in Mosul, people who had travelled to Baghdad. Town of Darbandikhan is quarantined in KRG. Protests in Sadr City against curfews. Qais Khazali says the grave economic-health crises requires returning Adel Abudl Mahdi to PM office.
Syria: Turkey cuts water to 400,000 during pandemic. First case of virus announced by SANA.
Kuwait: Emir praises the great sacrifices of people.
Pakistan President appeals to US to relax Iran sanctions.
Palestinian Authority: PM Shtayyah orders curfew: It is prohibited for citizens to leave their homes as of 10 pm tonight Movement between provinces is forbidden.
Turkey: Concern for jailed journalists getting virus. Turkey banned people over 65 yrs old and those with chronic illnesses from leaving home.
Qatar: Qatar airways continues sending aid to Iran.
Iran: Iran confirms 1,411 new cases of coronavirus, including 127 new deaths in past 24 hours. Now the total number of infections is 23,049 and death toll is 1,812. Fars News journalist dies of virus. Calls for changing lifestyle to fight virus. Fars News asks "where is God." 58,000 tests carried out in Iran, calls for confronting false "Islamic medicine." Khamenei says the virus may have been spread by the US and rejects aid from the US. Javad Zarif: "Iranian people appreciate the growing global campaign of government & civil society leaders calling for lifting of illegal U.S. sanctions. U.S. is NOT listening, impeding global fight against #COVID19. The ONLY remedy: DEFY U.S. mass punishment. MORAL & PRAGMATIC imperative."
Egypt: Two generals now dead from virus. "Maj. Gen. Shafia Abdel Halim Dawood (شفيع عبد العليم) was the second senior army officer, who died of the coronavirus. Earlier, Al-Ahram daily reported that another army officer, identified as Maj. Gen. Khaled Shaltout (خالد شلتوت), who was taking part in countrywide sterilization operation, died due to the coronavirus." They may have attended the same recent meeting.
Turkey: Turkish Super Lig club Galatasaray confirmed on Monday that its vice-chairman Abdurrahim Albayrak tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Over 11,000 in quarantine. Turkey considers full curfew.
General: Massive change in flight patterns - The National
Saudi Arabia: Military hospitals deployed to fight virus.
Oman: 11 new cases.
Morocco: 12 new cases.
Bahrain: Suspension of prayers.
Jordan: Jordanian Prime Minister on Twitter, citing Amjad Al-Adayleh, Minister of State for Information Affairs, reiterating that the curfew will continue until further notice.
He said, "We must prepare ourselves for a difficult stage ... and starting tomorrow morning, Tuesday, it will begin to deliver basic supplies to citizens such as bread, drinking water and medicine...pharmacies will only open for deliveries." Jordan concerned 80% could be affected if they don't adhere to guidelines. Jordanian students in Egypt want to return home. 100,000 food parcels to be distributed.
Lebanon: Stops paying debt.
Sudan: All travel will stop between districts.
Totals: Lebanon 304, Israel 1,656, Turkey 1,529, Jordan 127, PA 60,Syria 1, Iraq 316, Iran 24,811, Morocco 143, Libya 0, Algeria 230, Tunisia 114, Egypt 366, UAE 198, Saudi Arabia 767, Bahrain 390, Kuwait 191, Qatar 501, Oman 84, Yemen 0. overall: 31,788.
Turkey: 3672 tests have been completed in the past 24 hours to a total of 24,017. There are currently 1529 confirmed cases of the virus and 37 related deaths in Turkey. Turkey says it will imprison those spreading "incitement" online.
KRG Iraq continues it strict measures, contemplating keeping them until May. KRG has a low rate of infection. 1st week: 10 cases 2nd week: 18 3rd week: 26 Last week of March (so far): 23 Total: 77. Six new cases on March 24. KRG continues construction and accepts 1,000 testing kits from China.
Israelis who returned from Peru on government flight refuse to quarantine. In other instances Orthodox Jews clashed with police. 1,930 cases in Israel as government contemplates harsher measures, no. 2 at health ministry suggests using army to deliver food.
Syria: Mazlum Abdi "on people to adhere to preventive measures to prevent spread of coronavirus in northeastern Syria. Although no coronavirus case has been detected in northeast Syria. "It is important to protect ourselves and our families."
Gaza: Crises could be major disaster
Iran: Khamenei new speech about not trusting US leads to Press TV pushing conspiracy theories about virus originating in US. Rouhani hosts meeting about virus and health guidelines. Tourist areas closed.
UAE: Uses drones, has new social media campaign.
Jordan: Life under the harsh new policies. "No grocery shopping. No trips to pharmacies. Not even a walk around the block. Those with medical emergencies could call the authorities, but anyone caught outside would be arrested." Food deliveries will begin. Jordan threatens to close shops if they are crowded.
General: France seeks to bring home 130,000 people. India "I'm proud of the disciplined approach we are adopting in India. Unlike Europe or the UK, our authorities are moving swiftly to contain community transmission by imposing lockdowns, banning mass transit, all aimed at preventing us from slipping into Stage 3 of the spread of #COVID."
US confronts Iran coronavirus disinformation campaign.
Palestinian PA: Asks workers to return to west bank.
Kuwait: Two new cases.
GCC holds meeting to address coronavirus threat.
Libya announces first case.
US stops movement of troops for 60 days (some already repositioned in Iraq and Czechs andUK and France withdrew); international Coalition in Iraq announces it has temporarily suspended training with Iraqi forces due to spread of Corona Virus. French forces have withdrawn from Iraq to bases in Kuwait, Qatar & Jordan but will resume training with Iraq once virus over. - Witty.
Saudi Arabia: Public Prosecution announced that Five-year jail and SR3 million in fine for posting curfew violation videos.
Turkey: 5,000 tests in a day, 516 positives, 15 deaths.
Israel: New measures brought in to keep people 100 meters from their home, protesters arrested. Israel PM "In two weeks we are liable to find ourselves with thousands of patients many of whom will be in danger of death." Questions emergeabout Israel's planning and strategy "Answers the question, where are we going? The common denominator is that everyone want's to get things back to normal. BUT, nobody is saying where we are going. PM, MOH says one thing, MOF says another, MOD says something else, MOE something else, you get the idea"; Israel reached 20% unemployment. Concerns about domestic violence.
Jordan: People were allowed out briefly to small groceries before sirens herded them back inside.
Iraq. 570 Iraqis return from Egypt. Iraqi Health Ministry: 30 new people tested positive with #coronavirus today. 14 others have recovered.
Palestinian PA: Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed 62 cases in the West Bank and 2 cases in Gaza.
Egyptian minister says coronavirus under control in Egypt. There was an accident on ring road due to curfew.
Israeli cargo flights to China.
Eastern Syria still has water cut to 460,000 and has only 10 ventilators.
Israel says 500 IDF troops will help police to block roads beginning on March 29.
New measures announced in Turkey.
Mauritania fears outbreak -Al Ain
Syria may be hiding cases - The National