Roundup: Iran's COVID-19 cases surpass 1 mln; Turkey reports 32,381 new cases

CAIRO, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East, crossed the threshold of 1 million on Thursday. Meanwhile, Turkey reported 32,381 cases, including 6,511 symptomatic patients, for the past 24 hours.

Iran reported 13,922 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally of infections in the country to 1,003,494. The country reported its first cases on Feb. 10.

Iran, one of the most populous countries in West Asia, has been placed between a rock and a hard place by the surging coronavirus pandemic and the embargoes unilaterally slapped by the United States.

"The United States prevents us even from using our own money that we have in other countries to produce vaccines," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday in an online 2020 session of the Mediterranean Dialogues.

The lack of access to both payment channels and its own financial resources abroad has made it difficult for Iran to import any goods, including emergency medical equipment such as ventilators and testing kits, for its 82 million inhabitants.

Turkey is another country in the Middle East that has seen a drastic hike in coronavirus infections. Turkey reported on Thursday 32,381 COVID-19 cases, including 6,511 symptomatic patients, as the total number of symptomatic COVID-19 patients in the country increased to 520,167, its health ministry announced.

The death toll from coronavirus in Turkey rose by 187 to 14,316, while the total recoveries climbed to 418,331 after 4,190 more patients recovered in the last 24 hours.

The rate of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients stands at 3.3 percent and the number of seriously ill patients is 5,611 in the country.

In Iraq, the health ministry reported on Thursday 2,039 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide infections to 558,767.

The ministry also reported 21 new deaths and 1,550 more recovered cases in the country, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 12,361 and the total recoveries to 487,863.

The Iraqi health authority said it talked with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer on purchasing the company's COVID-19 vaccines. But it also stressed the precondition that the vaccine must be verified by international organizations such as the World Health Organization.

Qatar adds 221 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 139,477.

Meanwhile, 228 more recovered from the virus, bringing the overall recoveries to 136,741, while the fatalities remained 239 for the second day running, the kingdom's health ministry said.

Oman reported on Thursday 184 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total tally in the Sultanate to 124,329.

Meanwhile, 253 people recovered during the past 24 hours, taking the overall recoveries to 115,866, while five others reportedly died, pushing the overall fatalities up to 1,435.

Kuwait reported 314 new COVID-19 cases and two more deaths, raising the tally of infections to 143,574 and the death toll to 884 in the country.

The Kuwaiti Health Ministry also announced the recovery of 540 more patients, taking the total recoveries to 138,674.

Egypt confirmed on Wednesday late night 421 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total cases registered in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic to 116,724, said the Egyptian health ministry.

It is the first time in over four months for Egypt's coronavirus daily cases to exceed 400, since the country reported 401 cases on July 30.

Meanwhile, 28 patients died in Egypt from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, raising the death toll in the country to 6,694, while 133 others completely recovered, increasing the total recoveries to 102,949.

King Abdullah II of Jordan on Thursday said abiding by COVID-19 preventive measures and mask-wearing has gradually improved the kingdom's epidemiological situation, noting the decline in infections over the past week.

The Jordanian leader also reiterated the importance of continued adherence to preventive measures to avoid any setbacks that could worsen the situation, according to a Royal Court statement.

In Morocco, the health authority on Thursday reported 4,434 new COVID-19 cases, taking the number of infections in the country since March 2 to 368,624.

The death toll rose to 6,063 with 78 new fatalities during the last 24 hours, while 969 people are in intensive care units.

Israel's Ministry of Health reported 1,549 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 340,867.

The number of deaths reached 2,890 with seven new fatalities, while the number of patients in serious condition increased from 284 to 292 out of 533 currently hospitalized.

The country's education ministry announced plans to reduce the number of matriculation exams in order to minimize the infection risks of students and teachers.

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