Roundup: Iran buys 16.8 mln COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX; Lebanon signs deal to buy 2 mln Pfizer vaccines

CAIRO, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Iran said on Sunday that it has purchased 16.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX; Meanwhile, Lebanon signed a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy over 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

Alireza Raisi, the spokesman for the Iranian National Headquarters for Combating the Coronavirus, said that "we have paid 52 million U.S. dollars to buy 16.8 million doses of the COVAX vaccine for 8.4 million people."

The vaccines from the COVAX, which is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization, are expected to arrive in two months, Raisi said.

Iran's total number of COVID-19 cases climbed by 6,016 to 1,330,411, while its death toll from the deadly pandemic rose by 86 to 56,803, said Sima Sadat Lari, the spokeswoman for Iranian Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

A total of 1,119,137 people in Iran have recovered from the disease, while 4,374 remained in intensive care units, she said.

In Lebanon, the office of Caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan announced on Sunday that the minister has signed the final contract with Pfizer and BioNTech to secure the purchase of over 2 million vaccines which are expected to arrive gradually starting in February.

Lebanon registered on Sunday 3,654 new COVID-19 infections, bringing its total number of cases to 252,812, the Lebanese Health Ministry reported. The the coronavirus death toll in Lebanon increased by 40 to 1,906.

Turkey, the hardest-hit country in the Middle East, reported 6,436 new COVID-19 cases nad 165 more deaths from the infectious virus, bringing its tally of infections to 2,387,1010 and its death toll to 23,997. The total recoveries from the disease in Turkey surged by 8,005 to 2,262,864.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health reported 645 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide infections to 608,232. It also confirmed nine more deaths, taking its death toll to 12,944, while its total recoveries soared by 1,531 to 569,429.

Iraqi Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi told the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) that the pandemic is under control in Iraq as the recovery rate has reached 93 percent and the death rate is kept at about 2 percent. He denied the media reports about the discovery of a new coronavirus strain in Iraq.

Israel's Ministry of Health reported 5,825 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 547,689.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Israel reached 3,989 with 46 new fatalities, while the total recoveries surged by 5,226 to 460,596. The active cases in Israel rose to a record high of 83,104.

The ministry also reported that the number of people vaccinated against the COVID-19 in Israel has reached 2.075 million.

Morocco's COVID-19 tally rose to 459,671 on Sunday as 806 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours.

The Moroccan Ministry of Health said that the coronavirus death toll in the kingdom rose by 31 to 7,942, while the tally of recoveries increased to 434,925 after 988 new ones were added.

Saudi Arabia reported 176 new COVID-19 cases and five more deaths, raising its tally of infections to 364,929 and its death toll to 6,323. The total recoveries from the virus in the kingdom increased by 146 to 356,687.

Jordan's total COVID-19 cases surged to 314,514 with the addition of 957 new infections, while its death toll rose by eight to 4,145. The total recoveries in the kingdom increased by 1,623 to 298,868.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the total COVID-19 cases climbed by 3,453 to 253,261, while its death toll soared to 745 with five more fatalities. The total recoveries in the UAE increased by 3,268 to 225,374.

Kuwait reported 378 new COVID-19 cases, raising the tally of infections to 157,777, while the death toll remained at 947.

The Kuwaiti Health Ministry also announced the recovery of 464 more patients, taking the total recoveries to 151,142.

Egypt reported 887 new cases and 54 more deaths on Saturday night, raising its tally of infections to 155,507 and its death toll to 8,527. The total recoveries in Egypt rose by 499 to 122,291.

Palestine announced 578 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the 10th consecutive day when the daily count is below 1,000, taking its tally of infections to 171,215.

The coronavirus death toll in the Palestinian territories climbed by 20 to 1,881, while the tally of recoveries increased by 862 to 157,129, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The Qatari health ministry announced 188 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 147,277.

Qatar's overall recoveries rose by 246 to 143,858, while its total COVID-19 fatalities remained unchanged at 246 for the 10th consecutive day.

Oman will shut down its land borders for one week starting Monday to curb the spread of the coronavirus, under a decision made by the Gulf state's coronavirus emergency committee.

Oman's total infections hit 131,790 on Sunday, after 526 new cases were recorded. Its death toll rose by three to 1,512, while its total recoveries surged by 474 to 124,067.

Libya reported 1,071 new COVID-19 cases and 14 more fatalities, pushing its total caseload to 109,088, and its death toll to 1,665. The total recoveries in Libya increased to 56,125 with the addition of 1,057 new ones.

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