Middle East

Iran says coronavirus kills member of top clerical body; 12 Iranian officials among virus fatalities

  TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran’s coronavirus outbreak Monday killed a member of the clerical body that appoints the supreme leader, state media said, taking the death toll among serving and ex-officials to at least 12. Ayatollah Hashem Bathayi Golpayegani, who was 78, died two days after testing positive for the COVID-19 disease and being hospitalised, state news agency IRNA reported. The official represented Tehran in the Assembly of Experts, an 88-strong body of clerics […]

Saudi Arabia to suspend international flights over virus

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi Arabia said Saturday it would suspend international flights for two weeks in response to the coronavirus outbreak. “The kingdom’s government decided to suspend international flights for two weeks (starting from Sunday March 15th) as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of #CoronaVirus,” the foreign ministry tweeted. The halt applies to all but “exceptional cases,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, quoting an official source in the interior […]

Turkey announces first coronavirus case

  ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey announced Wednesday, March 11, its first coronavirus case, a man who had recently travelled to Europe and is in good health. “The test of a patient suspected of carrying the coronavirus returned positive,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a television broadcast. He added that the man was likely to have contracted COVID-19 while travelling in Europe, but declined to say which country or where in Turkey the patient […]

Iran reports 8 new coronavirus deaths, 34 in total

  TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran on Friday reported eight new deaths from coronavirus, taking its overall toll to 34, as the number of infections jumped again in the Islamic republic, among the worst-hit countries. An additional 143 cases have been detected over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of confirmed infections to 388, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said. It is the highest number of new cases for a single day since […]

UPDATED: Iran’s deputy health minister says he has coronavirus

  TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran’s deputy health minister confirmed on Tuesday that he has tested positive for the new coronavirus, amid a major outbreak in the Islamic republic. Harirchi coughed occasionally and appeared to be sweating during a press conference in Tehran on Monday with government spokesman Ali Rabiei. At the time he denied a lawmaker’s claim that 50 people had died from the virus in the Shiite shrine city of Qom, saying he […]

JUST IN: Kuwait, Bahrain announce first coronavirus cases

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — Kuwait and Bahrain confirmed on Monday their first novel coronavirus cases, health ministries in the two Gulf states announced, adding all had come from Iran. Kuwait reported three infections and Bahrain one. “Tests conducted on those coming from the Iranian city of Mashhad showed there were three confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” the Kuwaiti health ministry said in a statement posted on Twitter. It said the cases were […]

Iran shuts schools, cultural centers as coronavirus kills five

  by David VUJANOVIC Agence France Presse TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran on Saturday ordered the closure of schools, universities and cultural centres after a coronavirus outbreak that has killed five people in the Islamic republic — the most outside the Far East. The moves came as Iranian authorities reported one more death among 10 new cases of the virus. Since it emerged in December, the new coronavirus has killed 2,345 people in China, the […]

Iran reports one more death among 10 new coronavirus cases, bringing to 5 number of deaths due to virus

  TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran on Saturday reported one more death among 10 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the Islamic republic to five and infections to 28. “We have 10 new confirmed cases of COVID-19,” health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on state television. “One of the new cases has unfortunately passed away,” he added, noting that eight of them had been hospitalized in Qom and two in […]

Coronavirus kills two Iranians, first Mideast deaths

  TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Two people have died in Iran after testing positive on Wednesday for the new coronavirus, the health ministry said, in the Islamic republic’s first cases of the disease. According to YJC news agency, a branch of state television, the pair who died were Iranian citizens and residents of the holy city of Qom. They are also the first deaths from the COVID-19 virus in the Middle East and only the […]

Israel says Netanyahu discusses ‘normalization’ with Sudan’s leader

by Guillaume Lavallee with Michael O’Hagan in Entebbe Agence France-Presse JERUSALEM, Undefined (AFP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sudan’s leader Monday to discuss normalizing ties, his office said, a potentially landmark step that caught Khartoum by surprise and was denounced by the Palestinians. Netanyahu’s office said he met Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chairman of the ruling sovereign council in fast-changing Sudan, in the Ugandan city of Entebbe. Israel remains technically at war with Sudan, which […]

UAE announces case of new coronavirus; first confirmed case in Middle East

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AFP) — The United Arab Emirates announced Wednesday its first case of the new coronavirus, in a family from Wuhan, in what is thought to be the first confirmed case in the Middle East. “The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention announced a case of the new coronavirus affecting people from one family coming from the city of Wuhan in China,” the state news agency WAM reported, without saying how many […]