Iraqi children wear protective masks as they walk near a religious school where the first coronavirus case was detected, following the outbreak of the new coronavirus, in the holy city of Najaf. Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: More infections and deaths of the novel coronavirus were reported Thursday across the Middle East, raising the overall tally to more than 3,700 cases and fueling regional fears over the potentially fatal disease.

Fears of the spread of the Covid-19 have prompted the cancellation of the congregational Muslim Friday prayers in Iraq’s key holy Shiite of Karbala.

Iraq’s Shiite religious authorities decided to suspend the Friday prayer in the city this week “due to the current health situation”, Iraq’s official news agency reported.

Iraq has confirmed 35 Covid-19 infections, mostly linked to Iran, the epicentre of the virus in the Middle East outside China where it originated in December.

Iranian authorities said Thursday the virus has claimed 107 lives among 3,513 confirmed cases in the country.

However, experts believe the real numbers of both deaths and infections in Iran are far higher.

Most infections reported in the Middle East have been linked to travel to Iran.

Oman has confirmed three new infections in people who have recently travelled to Iran. This brings to 15 the total of infections in the sultanate.

Kuwait Thursday announced two more cases in persons who have returned from Iran.

The latest cases raises to 58 the overall tally of infections in the country, making Kuwait having the largest number of infections in the Middle East outside Iran.

Later Thursday, Kuwaiti Health Minister Sheikh Basel Al Sabah announced the recovery of a 34-year-old Kuwaiti man from the infection.

In recent weeks, Kuwaiti has put in place strict preventive measures including the closure of educational institutions and restrictions on travellers from the virus-hit countries.

While reporting no new case, Bahrain said Thursday that three new cases have recovered from the coronavirus.

The recovered three are two Bahraini nationals and a Saudi woman, the ministry added.

“It has been decided to discharge the three cases from the quarantine after they underwent clinical tests ensuring they are free of the virus,” the ministry said, according to Bahrain’s official news agency BNA.

On Wednesday, the ministry announced the recovery of a Bahraini man from the ailment.

The four are among a total of 49 people that Bahrain confirmed to have caught the infection mostly from Iran.

Morocco meanwhile reported its second confirmed case in a Moroccan woman who returned from Italy. The patient is staying and receiving medical care at a hospital in the coastal city of Casablanca, the Moroccan Health Ministry said.

The North African country confirmed its first Covid-19 case on Monday in a Moroccan man coming back from Italy, too.

Iran, South Korea and Italy account for 80 per cent of the new virus cases outside China, the global epicentre of the disease.