Iran's COVID-19 death toll climbs to 1,135

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A man wearing mask walks on a street in Tehran, Iran, on March 7, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The death toll from COVID-19 on Wednesday soared to 1,135 in Iran, where the raging pandemic showed no signs of easing.

Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education reported 147 new deaths from the viral respiratory disease, as the total number of confirmed cases surged to 17,361, up by 1,192 from Tuesday. A total of 5,710 people have recovered, up by 321.

The ministry urged Iranians to avoid unnecessary travels during the upcoming holiday of Nowruz, the Persian new year, which starts on Friday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif repeated his call for international pressure on the United States to lift its sanctions against Iran.

In a phone conversation with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi, Zarif said that the U.S. "illegal, inhuman and unilateral sanctions against Iran" should be removed as the country is struggling to stem COVID-19.

In the biggest single-day rise in Israel, 96 people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 433, said the Israeli Ministry of Health.

Israel announced a ban on the entry of foreign citizens as part of its efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. However, exceptions will be made for those who live Israel.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was among the first countries that reported the COVID-19 cases in the Middle East, recorded 15 new cases, bringing the total number to 113.

Egypt reported 14 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 210, Egyptian Health Ministry said. The new cases included two foreigners and 12 Egyptians.

In Beirut, the Lebanese Health Ministry announced 13 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of the infected to 133. It also reported one new death from the virus, the fourth such death in the country.

Kuwait's Health Ministry reported 12 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 142, 15 of whom have recovered.

In Baghdad, Iraqi Health Ministry confirmed one more death from COVID-19 and six new cases, bringing the total number of the infected to 164, of whom 12 have died and 43 others recovered.

In Tunis, Tunisian Health Ministry reported five new COVID-19 cases, as the total number rose to 29. The five new cases included three imported cases.

Tunisian President Kais Saied declared on Tuesday evening a curfew across the country starting from Wednesday, as part of the measures against the spread of the virus.

In Rabat, Morocco's Ministry of Health confirmed 10 new cases, bringing the country's total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 54.

The Moroccan ministries of health and interior issued a joint statement, urging all citizens to restrict their movement amid the spread of coronavirus.

Qatar, the worst-hit Arab country with 442 confirmed cases so far, on Wednesday asked 80 percent of the government employees to work from home starting Sunday.

Turkey on Wednesday closed its borders with Greece and Bulgaria as part of the measures against the COVID-19 outbreak. The sea travels from Greece to Turkey were also temporarily stopped.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced an economic package of 100 billion Turkish liras (15.4 billion U.S. dollars) to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The funds will be allocated to the private sector, pensioners, elderly people and citizens with low income, Erdogan said at a press conference.

In Muscat, the Omani Ministry of Tourism called on all foreign tourist delegations to leave the country amid the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Transport announced the suspension of all public transportation in Oman, including buses, ferries and taxis, starting Thursday.

In Amman, the Jordanian armed forces said that all entrances to the capital will be sealed off starting Thursday as the number of coronavirus cases in the country hit 52.

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia called for holding a virtual Group of 20 (G20) summit next week to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The proposed summit aims to advance a coordinated response to the pandemic, and put forward a coordinated set of policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy, it said.

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