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The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from 17 March

A daily brief on Middle East's coronavirus pandemic [TNA]

Date of publication: 17 March, 2020

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The coronavirus has led to a stricter clampdown in the Middle East of social gatherings. Here are five stories you need to know about coronavirus in the Middle East today
Here are five takeaways about coronavirus in the Middle East this Tuesday.

Jordan ramps up measures

Jordan has announced a national lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jordan's Prime Minister Omar Razzaz announced on Tuesday that the private sector will be largely closed. Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes in extreme cases. All public institutions will be closed, except for ones that are vital to the running of the country.

The army will be deployed at the entrances and exits of cities to prevent movement between populations. Public transport will be shut down and gatherings of more than ten people will be banned.

Shopping malls, except for food supply centres, pharmacies, bakeries, water, electricity and fuel supply chains will all be closed, and newspapers won't be printed.

The measures will take place from 8am on Wednesday morning for a period of two weeks. 

Israel’s coronavirus tally surpasses 300

Israel has recorded that 304 residents have been struck with coronavirus. 

Read also: Israel uses coronavirus fears to impose severe restrictions on Palestinian workers

Currently, 223 are being treated in hospital and 15 others are in the process of being sent to hospital, while 46 patients are being treated at home.

A further 15 are still being evaluated to decide whether they will be treated at a hospital or at home, according to the health ministry.

Nearly a quarter of those diagnosed showed no symptoms.

Morocco second death

Morocco's health ministry recorded its second coronavirus-related death - a 75-year-old Moroccan man from the city of Sale.

The ministry added a new case has been confirmed after an infected Moroccan man in Casablanca, who returned from France, was diagnosed. 

Rabat insists it has taken the necessary measures to treat the patients, according to the national and international health guidelines.

Morocco has taken a series of economic, social and religious measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus.

The total number of confirmed cases in the North African kingdom is now 38.

Religious authorities

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa to prohibit "unnecessary travel" in the country in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The religious ruling urges residents to respect the orders of the health authorities and to avoid traveling across the country without a valid reason.

Meanwhile, 11 Lebanese priests are currently on lockdown after being diagnosed with coronavirus. Four of them are being treated in hospital.

Egyptian resort in lockdown

Egypt locked down the Red Sea resort of Hurghada where a German tourist died of coronavirus.

The Red Sea governor, who is based in Hurghada, said a two-week lockdown has been imposed with immediate effect as part of a "national plan" to fight off the virus.

Read also: Tourist hot spot Egypt 'likely under-reporting 19,000' coronavirus cases, disease specialists believe

The move was aimed "to ensure the safety and well being of citizens from being infected as well as the safety of tourists... until they (can) leave the country", a statement said.

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