Iran's coronavirus death toll nears 3,000; Iraq praises China's contribution to fight against COVID-19

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Iran recorded 141 new deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday, raising the death toll to 2,898; Meanwhile, Iraq praised China's contribution to its fight against the raging pandemic.

Iran, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, reported 3,111 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number to 44,606. So far, 14,656 patients in Iran have recovered from the novel coronavirus.

Speaking at the National Headquarters for Managing and Fighting the Coronavirus, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced the extension of social distancing plan for another week until April 8.

In Turkey, the second hardest-hit country in the region, 2,704 new coronavirus cases and 46 new deaths were confirmed, bringing the tally of infections to 13,531 and the death toll to 214. A total of 243 patients have recovered from the virus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. counterpart Donald Trump discussed the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak during a phone conversation, Turkey's presidential office said.

The two leaders decided to take the necessary steps to share the best practices, data and experiences to control the pandemic, it added.

Israel reported 663 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,358 and the death toll to 20.

"Significant progress" has been made in developing the vaccine and antibody for the novel coronavirus, Israel's Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

Iraq's Health Ministry on Tuesday confirmed 65 new COVID-19 cases and four more deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 694 and the death toll to 50. The Iraqi government decided to extend the nationwide curfew until April 19.

In an interview with Iraqi TV channel al-Furat, Iraqi Health Minister Jaafar Sadiq Allawi praised China's "unforgettable and historic" contribution to Iraq's fight against the coronavirus.

A Chinese team of seven medical experts has been working with their Iraqi counterparts since March 7. A new lab built by the Chinese experts with the equipment donated by China, was inaugurated in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on March 25, to increase Iraq's testing capacity for the coronavirus.

Palestine on Tuesday hailed China's experience in fighting the novel coronavirus as "exemplary," while thanking China for its support to the Palestinian fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

"China has become a leading example in medical relief for poor countries that have been hit by this virus," Palestinian government's spokesperson Ibrahim Milhem told reporters at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Saudi Arabia reported 110 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the kingdom's total confirmed cases to 1,563. Its death toll hit 10 after two deaths were added.

In Cairo, Egypt announced 54 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths, raising the total number of cases to 710 and the death toll to 46.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi described the current results of the precautionary measures taken by the country to prevent the COVID-19 spread as "good and reassuring."

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) confirmed 53 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases to 664. One more death was reported, raising the death toll to six.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, said that the UAE government will inject new equity into the Emirates as a gesture of full support for the state-owned airline amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Morocco reported 68 new cases and three more deaths from the coronavirus, raising the tally of infections to 602, of whom 36 have died.

Kuwait reported 23 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 289. One more patient recovered from the coronavirus, raising the country's total number of recoveries to 73.

Lebanon's number of COVID-19 infections increased by 17 to 463, of whom 12 have died and 35 have recovered.

The Omani Ministry of Health announced 13 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the Sultanate to 179, of whom 34 have recovered.

Sudan's Health Ministry announced a new COVID-19 case, bringing the tally of infections in the country to seven.

The Chinese Embassy in Sudan on Tuesday handed over 400,000 surgical masks donated to the Sudanese government to help the country combat the contagious disease.

During a virtual meeting, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors agreed on Tuesday on delivering a roadmap in response to the novel coronavirus, the G20 Saudi secretariat said.

They also discussed the role of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and other international financial institutions to deploy all available resources and explore additional measures needed to support emerging markets and developing economies amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The officials welcomed the Word Bank's readiness to deploy as much as US$160 billion over the next 15 months to support its member countries to respond to the pandemic.

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