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Iranian firefighters disinfect streets in southern Tehran to halt the wild spread of coronavirus on March 11. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Wednesday brought more misery for the region in general, and Iran in particular, as both deaths and infections from the highly contagious coronavirus continued to soar.

The official death toll in Iran from the new coronavirus climbed to 62 more people in the past 24 hours as the government on Wednesday raised the nationwide death toll to 354.


Iran’s Health Ministry said the deaths are among some 9,000 confirmed cases in Iran, where the virus has spread to all of the country’s provinces.

There are concerns that the number of infections across Iran is much higher than the confirmed cases reported by the government, which is struggling to contain or manage its spread.

The rising casualty figures each day in Iran suggest the fight against the new coronavirus is far from over. Among the dead are five of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard members and an unspecified number of the Guard’s volunteer Basij forc

Across the Mideast, the vast majority of the 9,700 people who have contracted the coronavirus are in hard-hit Iran or had recently returned from there. The Islamic Republic has one of the world’s worst death tolls outside of China, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Outside of Iran, only Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon have recorded deaths from the virus in the Middle East.


In Bahrain, authorities said the number of confirmed cases on Wednesday spiked by nearly 70 per cent from to 189 confirmed cases. The 77 new cases were all on a returning flight of Bahraini evacuees from Iran.

Saudi Arabia

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has barred travel to and from 14 countries affected by the new virus.


Lebanon reported its second death Wednesday saying a 53-year-old man died of the virus. The Health Ministry said 37 per cent of the cases reported in Lebanon originated from four countries: Egypt, Iran, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Also, the country’s restaurant association said all restaurants around the country will be closed until further notice, though delivery services will continue. Flights to and from Iran have also been suspended.

Israel, Occupied Territories, Turkey

Elsewhere, Israel ordered two weeks of home quarantine for anyone arriving from overseas. The outbreak in Israel has been largely contained, but it has begun to gain pace in recent days, with a total of 58 cases diagnosed as of Tuesday.

There are 26 confirmed cases in the Occupied Territories, while Turkey reported its first case on Wednesday.


Qatar announced that 238 new coronavirus cases have been recorded, bringing the tally to 262 cases, according to the Qatar News Agency. Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health announced 238 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Coronavirus across the country.

All the cases are for expatriates who had contact with the three cases that were declared infected last Sunday and who reside in one residential complex.