Roundup: Turkey to receive 6.5 mln more doses of COVID-19 vaccines from China; Israel bans int'l flights to prevent arrival of new coronavirus variant

CAIRO, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Turkey announced on Sunday that 6.5 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines would arrive in Turkey from China. Meanwhile, the Israeli cabinet approved a ban on international flights in a bid to prevent the arrival of new COVID-19 variants.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a tweet that the arrival of new Chinese vaccines on Monday are part of the second planned shipment of 10 million doses of the vaccines developed by the Chinese company Sinovac.

After receiving the first batch of 3 million doses of vaccines from China at the end of December, Turkey launched the mass vaccination program on Jan. 14. More than 1.24 million people have been vaccinated so far.

Turkey reported 5,277 new COVID-19 cases and 140 deaths, pushing its tally of infections to 2,429,605 and its death toll to 25,073. The total recoveries from the disease rose by 5,860 to 2,307,721.

Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a ban on passenger flights to and from the country, in a bid to prevent the spread of new COVID-19 variants.

Under the ban, Israel's international Ben Gurion Airport will be closed for all outgoing and incoming international flights, except for some emergency cases.

Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said that his ministry was worried about the arrival of new variants. "One of the new variants is already in Israel and is clearly partly responsible for the high infection numbers," he said.

Israel is under its third nationwide lockdown, which started on Dec. 19, 2020 and is expected to be lifted on Jan. 31.

Israel's Ministry of Health reported 3,155 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the tally in the country to 596,733. The death toll from the COVID-19 in Israel climbed by 66 to 4,392, while the total recoveries surged by 9,899 to 522,368.

Iran announced on Sunday 5,945 new COVID-19 cases and 89 more deaths from the virus, taking the tally of infections in Iran to 1,372,977 and its death toll to 57,383.

Sima Sadat Lari, spokeswoman of Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education, said that 1,164,794 COVID-19 patients have recovered in Iran, while 4,090 others were currently in critical condition.

The Iraqi Health Ministry reported on Sunday 893 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total nationwide number to 613,763.

The ministry also reported five new deaths, raising the death toll in Iraq to 12,993, and 1,704 more recovered cases, bringing the total recoveries to 581,542.

Morocco reported 520 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 466,289.

The total recoveries from COVID-19 in Morocco rose by 748 to 442,441, while its death toll increased by 22 to 8,150.

Saudi Arabia recorded 186 new coronavirus infections and two more fatalities from the virus, taking its total confirmed COVID-19 cases to 366,371 and its death toll to 6,352. The total recoveries in the kingdom soared by 211 to 357,939.

Lebanon reported 3,010 new COVID-19 cases and 50 more deaths, bringing its total infections to 279,597 and its death toll to 2,320. The total recoveries from the disease climbed by 1,381 to 165,729.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday confirmed 3,579 new COVID-19 infections and nine more deaths, raising its tally of confirmed cases to 277,955 and its death toll to 792. The total recoveries in the UAE increased by 4,166 to 251,484.

Kuwait reported 384 new COVID-19 cases, raising the tally of infections to 161,285, while the death toll remained at 952. The Kuwaiti Health Ministry also announced the recovery of 507 more patients, taking the total recoveries to 154,253.

In Oman, the health ministry confirmed 558 new COVID-19 infections and four more fatalities, raising the total confirmed cases in the country to 133,044 and its death toll to 1,521. Meanwhile, 1,532 people recovered in Oman during the past 72 hours, taking the total recoveries to 126,262.

Omani Health Minister Ahmed Al Saidi said that the rate of positive COVID-19 cases has dropped in Oman since mid-October but it is likely to resurge, "considering the continuation of the pandemic globally."

Qatar's Health Ministry announced 247 new COVID-19 infections, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 149,019. The overall recoveries in Qatar increased by 118 to 144,858, while the death toll remained at 248.

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