The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from 14 June

The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from 14 June
3 min read
14 June, 2020
Algeria is easing lockdown measures in 19 provinces, while Afghanistan has detected polio in areas previously declared free of the disease after immunisation programmes were paused due to Covid-19.
Here's your daily updates [TNA]
Five stories you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting the Middle East on 14 June.

1. New polio cases in Afghanistan as coronavirus halts immunisation

Afghanistan has detected polio in areas previously declared free of the life-threatening disease after immunisation programmes were paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Sunday.

The polio virus has spread to three provinces that had not reported cases for up to five years, said Jan Rasekh, a spokesman for Afghanistan's polio eradication programme.

Balkh, Herat and Badakhshan have each declared a single case.

Although the number of new cases nationwide is lower so far this year - with 14 compared to 26 in 2019 - the location has sparked concern.

"We had worked hard for years and cornered polio to a limited geography," Rasekh said.

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2. Netanyahu's residential guards test positive for coronavirus

At least three security guards working at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence tested positive for coronavirus.

According to a statement from Netanyahu's office on Saturday, Netanyahu himself tested negative for the novel disease.

The guards work at the prime minister’s home in West Jerusalem.

Prior to the positive result, the guards were reportedly on duty outside of the residency and had no close contact with Netanyahu.

Israel, which has a population of around nine million, announced its first coronavirus patient on February 21.

Since then, there have been 300 deaths from the virus and 18,876 infections, according to Israel's health ministry.

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3. Egypt's 1-day coronavirus infections hits new high

Egypt’s health ministry has announced 1,677 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus - the highest 24-hour infection total since the virus was first detected in the country in mid-February.

The ministry also reported 62 deaths from Covid-19, the disease that can be caused by the virus.

The figures announced on Saturday raise Egypt’s coronavirus totals to 1,484 deaths and 42,980 confirmed cases. The ministry says 11,529 patients have been discharged from quarantine after their recovery.

Egypt is the Arab world’s most populous country and it has the highest death rate from Covid-19 among Arab nations.

It ranks third in the Middle East after Iran and Turkey.

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4. Yemen, Philippine missions in Saudi Arabia close

The Yemeni Embassy in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, is shuttering indefinitely due to a number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus among staff.

The embassy made the announcement on Twitter late on Saturday, but did not specify how many people had contracted Covid-19.

Similarly, the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh also announced that starting on Sunday its office for labour affairs will close after a number of employees were tested for the coronavirus and six people were confirmed positive for the disease.

The office is being sterilised and employees were working remotely, according to the embassy.

Despite taking early and unprecedented measures to curb the spread of the virus, Saudi Arabia's numbers continue to climb by more than 3,000 cases daily with more than 123,000 confirmed cases overall.

Read more here

5. Algeria lifts coronavirus curfew in 19 provinces

Algeria announced on Sunday that it lifted a curfew in 19 provinces.

A second step will be taken to resume economic activities, partial curfew in 29 provinces will continue between 8pm and 5am local time.

Partial prohibition will be implemented in the capital of Algiers and Oran.

Compulsory permits given to civil servants and private company employees will be abolished if the transportation and health conditions are met.

A total of 10,810 patients have been diagnosed with the virus in Algeria while 760 have died.

At least 7,420 people have recovered.


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