Iran and Gulf countries report more coronavirus infections

ABU DHABI/TEHRAN: Iran reported on Saturday more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus infections within one day as the deaths climbed to 145 people in the Islamic republic.
The country’s total number of registered cases now stood at 5,823, a spokesman of the Health Ministry in Tehran said.
Several officials are among the dead. On Saturday, newly elected lawmaker Fatemeh Rabar died of the Covid-19 disease, local media reported.
At least 12 officials have tested positive, among them Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar.
Infections are centred around the capital, authorities said.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later said American sanctions — reimposed from 2018, after Washington pulled out of a multilateral nuclear deal —were undermining Iran’s battle against coronavirus.
US President Donald Trump “is maliciously tightening US’ illegal sanctions with the aim of draining Iran’s resources needed in the fight against #COVID-19 — while our citizens are dying from it” Zarif tweeted on Saturday.
“The world can no longer be silent as US #EconomicTerrorism is supplanted by its #MedicalTerrorism,” he said.
Also in the region, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has reported 15 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the Gulf country to 45.
The UAE Health Ministry said in a statement late on Friday that it has screened 13 cases who have recently arrived from abroad.
It added that two other cases were diagnosed with the virus by and active surveillance system. They were in close contact with cases confirmed previously in connection with a cycling event, the UAE Tour.
Earlier, the UAE urged citizens and residents to avoid travelling due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Saudi Arabia have announced new measures in order to “prevent transmission of the novel
coronavirus infection in preparation to eliminate it.”
The number of virus cases in the kingdom has risen to seven, after the Health Ministry reported two new infections on Saturday from citizens arriving from Iran and Iraq.
Kuwait on Saturday announced three new cases, bringing the total number to 61. The Health Ministry said the new cases are linked to travelling to Iran.
Kuwait’s cabinet has suspended flights to and from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India and Sri Lanka for one week, the official KUNA news agency reported on Saturday.
Travellers from these countries not be allowed to enter the country, it said.
In Iraq, the government has called on nationals currently in Iran to return by March 15. A statement said that after mid-March, all border crossings will be closed to Iraqis.
It also said that cross-border trade movement with Iran and Kuwait will be suspended as of Sunday. However, airports will remain open.
Meanwhile, several provinces, including in northern and central Iran, have said they will not provide lodging to tourists in an effort to dissuade people from travelling. Gilan and Mazandaran police from Friday started preventing cars without local licence plates from entering the provinces.
But according to an adviser to the Health Minister Alireza Vahabzadeh, some locals were bypassing the restrictions by giving
nonresidents lifts across province borders. — dpa/AFP