Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Jan. 9


TEHRAN -- 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. (Iran-COVID-19)

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BEIRUT -- 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 on Saturday 215,553 while death toll stands at 1,590, the Health Ministry said. (Lebanon-COVID-19)

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TEHRAN -- A senior Iranian lawmaker warned on Saturday that Iran will expel the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors if the U.S. anti-Iran sanctions are not lifted by Feb. 21, semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

"If the sanctions against Iran, particularly in the fields of finance, banking and oil, are not lifted by Feb. 21, we will definitely expel the IAEA inspectors from the country," Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani, a member of the presidium of Iran's parliament, was quoted as saying. (Iran-IAEA)

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ANKARA -- Turkey reported on Saturday 9,537 COVID-19 cases, including 1,103 symptomatic patients, as the total number of positive cases in the country reached 2,317,118, its health ministry announced.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 181 to 22,631, while the total recoveries climbed to 2,190,047 after 7,902 more cases recovered in the last 24 hours. (Turkey-COVID-19)

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