CAIRO, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Iraq on Sunday announced its decision to ban the entry of foreign travellers into the country, citing "the increasing number of coronavirus infections in neighboring countries," while Morocco's total COVID-19 cases surpassed 100,000 after sharp daily increases in the past weeks.
The ban imposed by Iraq's Higher Committee for Health and National Safety came as as the Iraqi Health Ministry reported 3,438 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number in the country to 319,035.
The ministry also confirmed 64 new fatalities from the infectious disease, taking the death toll to 8,555, while 4,052 more patients recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 253,591.
Having been recording one of the highest numbers in daily infections since early August, Iraq has been struggling against the coronavirus pandemic amid a gradual ease of anti-virus restrictions.
As for the preparations for the upcoming Shiite ritual of Arbaeen, Iraqi Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi said his ministry "has prepared an integrated plan in coordination with health institutions in all Iraqi provinces," expressing hope for "no increase in the number of coronavirus infections after Arbaeen."
Morocco registered 1,927 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, taking the total tally in the North African country to 101,743, the ministry of health said in a statement.
The death toll from the virus rose by 35 to 1,830, with 279 patients still in intensive care units, the ministry added.
In Iran, the hardest hit country in the Middle East, the overall number of coronavirus cases has grown to 422,140 after 3,097 new infections were detected in the past 24 hours, while the pandemic has so far claimed the lives of 24,301 Iranians, up by 183 in the past 24 hours, according to Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for the Iranian health ministry.
She said 1,272 patients were hospitalized because of complications from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, while 3,898 remain in critical condition.
It is worth noting that 24 out of 31 Iranian provinces are in high-risk condition in terms of COVID-19 infection.
Data issued by the Israeli Ministry of Health on Sunday showed that the proportion of coronavirus cases among people under the age of 20 in Israel has risen significantly to almost a third of all detected so far in the country.
According to the data, the proportion of the young people aged 19 and below testing positive for COVID-19 rose from 17.4 percent of all cases on April 18, to 22.4 percent on June 19, and to 30.9 percent at present, while the proportion of infected children under the age of 10 rose from five percent in April, to 6.8 percent in June and to 10.2 percent at present.
Palestine reported on Sunday 683 new COVID-19 cases and nine fatalities, raising the total number of infections in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem to 45,446 and the death toll to 300.
In a press statement, Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said four deaths were recorded in Hebron, four in Tulkarm, and one in Bethlehem.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Sunday that the increase in Turkey's daily coronavirus cases slowed down but not the number of severe patients, the latter of which has reached 1,456.
Turkey reported 1,519 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, raising the total confirmed number in the country to 302,867.
In addition, 61 people died in the past 24 hours from the virus, taking the death toll to 7,506, while the number of the total recoveries has risen to 267,233.
Saudi Arabia reported 483 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday, the lowest daily increase in the kingdom since mid-April, raising the total cases in the kingdom to 329,754, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The current number of active cases in Saudi Arabia has dropped by more than 75 percent to 14,830, including 1,138 in the intensive care units, from the peak numbers, according to Mohammed Abdulaali, spokesman of the Saudi Health Ministry.
The Qatari health ministry on Sunday announced 230 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number in the Gulf state to 123,376, official Qatar News Agency reported.
Kuwait on Sunday reported 385 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 99,434 and the death toll to 584, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
On Sept. 14, the Kuwaiti government decided to postpone the fifth phase of its plan to return to normal.
During the fifth phase, theaters and cinemas would be allowed to reopen and all social events permitted to be held.
In Oman, 1,722 new COVID-19 cases and 28 more deaths were reported on Sunday, raising the tally of infections to 93,475 and the death toll to 846.
As the first among the Gulf countries to report COVID-19 cases, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday announced 674 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 84,916.
The UAE health ministry also reported 761 more recoveries from the virus, taking the tally of recoveries in the UAE to 74,273.
Lebanon on Sunday reported the highest 1,006 daily COVID-19 cases, raising the total number to 29,303, while the death toll went up by 11 to 297, according to the country's health ministry.
Caretaker Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan called for imposing a total lockdown in the country for two weeks in an attempt to reduce daily infections, especially given the limited capabilities of Lebanon's health sector.
In Tunisia and Jordan, the number of COVID-19 cases on Sunday rose by 625 and 239 respectively to 9,736 and 4,779.
On Sunday, Tunisian President Kais Saied ordered the establishment of an analysis laboratory for coronavirus in the central province of Sidi Bouzid amid a surge in the daily infections in the North African country.
The National Center for Disease Control of Libya on Sunday reported 715 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the war-torn North African country to 27,949.
The Center said in a statement that 389 more patients recovered and 8 more died, raising the total recoveries to 15,068 and the death toll to 444.
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