Roundup: Iran's total COVID-19 cases reach 1,280,438; Israel confirms 4 cases of COVID-19 variant

CAIRO, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Iran's total COVID-19 cases reached 1,280,438 on Saturday; Israel reported four cases of new COVID-19 strain, bringing the total number of patients tested positive for COVID-19 variants in Israel to 151.

Iran's health ministry reported 5,924 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, raising the total nationwide infections to 1,280,438.

The pandemic has so far claimed 56,100 lives in Iran, up by 82 in the past 24 hours, said Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman for Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education, during her daily briefing.

A total of 1,067,466 people have recovered from the disease and been discharged from hospitals, while 4,686 remain in intensive care units, she added.

According to the spokeswoman, 8,099,191 tests for the virus have been carried out in Iran as of Saturday.

The Israeli Ministry of Health on Saturday reported the first four cases of the new COVID-19 strain that was detected in South Africa and other countries. This brought the total number of patients tested positive for COVID-19 variants in Israel to 151.

The four new cases were detected from 15 samples taken from coronavirus patients returning from South Africa and patients who were probably infected by them.

The detection of the variant was made with a unique 24-hour genetic test developed by the ministry, compared with the standard test that takes five days.

"The different variants cause faster infection than the common COVID-19 strain but probably do not cause more severe illnesses," the ministry noted.

The number of COVID-19 patients in serious condition in Israel increased from 920 to 964, out of 1,646 hospitalized patients, the state's ministry of Health said on Saturday.

The latest figure marked a new record of patients in serious condition since the pandemic outbreak in the country in late February.

The number of ventilated patients reached a peak of 236, compared to the previous record of 226 reported in Israel on Oct. 19.

The ministry also reported 6,726 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 484,083. The death cases from COVID-19 in Israel reached 3,633 with 37 new fatalities. The total recoveries rose to 411,684, after 2,931 new recovered cases were added, while active cases rose to 68,766.

Iraq reported 907 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide infections to 602,331 on Saturday.

The ministry also reported four new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus to 12,881, and 1,965 more recovered cases, bringing the total recoveries to 554,990.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health warned on Saturday of reimposing a nationwide curfew if the coronavirus infections increased due to the non-compliance of citizens with the health-protective measures.

The ministry's health teams spotted non-compliance with health-protective measures and resumption of social customs such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing like situation before the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry called on citizens to adhere to health-protective measures to prevent the increase of infections again, "otherwise, we will be forced to take strict restrictive measures such as a nationwide full curfew and closure of all vital facilities with human gatherings," according to the statement.

The Qatari health ministry on Saturday announced 206 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 145,672, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

Meanwhile, 119 more recovered from the virus, bringing the overall recoveries to 142,572, while the fatalities remained 246 for the second day running, according to a ministry statement quoted by QNA.

Kuwait's COVID-19 cases increased by 427 to 153,900 on the same day, while the death toll rose by two to 942.

The Kuwaiti Health Ministry also announced the recovery of 245 more patients, taking the total recoveries to 148,728.

Saudi Arabia reported 110 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally of cases in the country to 363,692 cases including 6,286 deaths. The country has recorded a total of 355,382 recoveries.

Lebanon recorded on Saturday 5,414 new COVID-19 infections and 20 more deaths from the pandemic amid a warning by caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan that the cabinet may impose complete lockdown if figures continue to rise.

The total number of infections reached 215,553 while the death toll stands at 1,590, the Health Ministry said.

Algeria reported 256 new COVID-19 cases and five new deaths from the virus on Saturday, binging the total cases to 101,913 including 2,803 deaths.

A total of 69,071 recoveries have been recorded in the country so far.

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