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Middle East countries that are currently free from coronavirus include Syria, Turkey, and Yemen.

Among the countries with coronavirus in the Middle East, Iran has the highest number of coronavirus cases, followed by Bahrain and Kuwait.

As a precautionary measure, Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned entry to tourists from coronavirus-affected countries and visitors, including those coming to the Prophet’s mosque and for Umrah. The measures were taken following community spread in religious clusters such as churches in Singapore and South Korea.

Mecca and Medina closed for tourists

The coronavirus measures taken by Saudi Arabia affect pilgrim visits to Mecca and Medina.

Inbound and outbound travel restrictions have also been announced to be applicable to Saudi nationals as well as citizens of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries.

COVID-19 Middle East update: the story so far

A total of 13 countries in the Middle East currently have coronavirus, as listed below.

COVID-19 in Iran

Confirmed cases: 32,332

First case reported: 19 February

Iran has reported 2,378 deaths, which is one of the highest outside China, and the first deaths in the Middle East. The first coronavirus cases in Iran were reported in the holy city of Qom, which has now emerged as the epicentre for transmission in the country.

The number of deaths in Iran, however, might be under-reported, reported BBC Persian citing sources in Iranian health system. The actual deaths are either 210 or more, added BBC. Other Middle East countries face the threat of coronavirus transmission from Iran.

Meanwhile, Iran is struggling to access coronavirus diagnostic kits and treatments due to sanctions by the US. Many countries have started cancelling visa-on-arrival facility for Iranians temporarily.

Coronavirus in Qatar

Confirmed cases: 549

First case reported: 29 February

The first coronavirus case in Qatar was reported on 29 February in a 36-year male who recently returned from Iran. Two more evacuees from Iran were tested positive on 01 March, increasing the number of cases to three.

The evacuees were brought to Qatar in a chartered plane by the government. Qatar has advised its residents to postpone travel to coronavirus-affected countries including China, South Korea, Iran, Singapore, Japan and Italy.

Bahrain COVID-19 situation

Confirmed cases: 466

First case reported: 24 February

Majority of the coronavirus-infected in Bahrain are passengers who arrived from Iran. One death has also been reported in the country.

Bahrain is monitoring passengers arriving from coronavirus-affected countries and has suspended flights to and from Dubai and Sharjah as a preventive measure. Self-isolation is mandated to citizens/residents arriving from Iran.

Bahrain has also ordered the closure of schools, universities and nurseries for two weeks as a preventive measure.

Coronavirus in Israel

Confirmed cases: 3,035

First case reported: 21 February

The first coronavirus-infected in Israel are among 11 evacuees who were onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The infected are being treated at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. The first confirmed case is reported to have recovered.

Various measures are being implemented to control the disease from spreading in the country, including the closure of tourist sites, preparation of isolation units, and restrictions on large gatherings.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Covid-19 updates

Confirmed cases: 333

First case reported: 29 January

The confirmed UAE COVID 19 cases include an Indian national who was in contact with one of the infected.

The first coronavirus case in UAE was confirmed on 29 January in a family of four who arrived from Wuhan. The remaining three also tested positive for the virus later.

The UAE has suspended all flights to and from China, Iran, and Thailand since the outbreak. It is also screening all passengers arriving from affected regions.

Further, all schools and colleges in the UAE have been asked to be closed for four weeks starting 08 March.

Iraq coronavirus update

Confirmed cases: 458

First case reported: 24 February

Iraq confirmed its first coronavirus infection on 24 February in an Iranian student in Najaf city.

Four more cases were reported on 25 February in Kirkuk near Baghdad of a family who recently returned from Iran.

A total of 40 deaths have been reported in the country. The first death of a 70-year-old cleric was announced on 04 March in Sulaimaniyah city.

Iraq has since banned the entry of foreign nationals and closed its borders to Iran and Kuwait.

Coronavirus in Kuwait

Confirmed cases: 225

First case reported: 26 February

Kuwait has reported multiple coronavirus cases among 700 people evacuated from the Mashhad city in Iran.

The first few patients who tested positive for the virus are in stable condition.

Coronavirus in Egypt

Confirmed cases: 495

First case reported:  14 February

A Chinese national who arrived in Egypt without symptoms of coronavirus was later tested positive. The patient has been placed under isolation in the Matrouh governorate in north-western Egypt and is reported to be recovering.

Lebanon COVID-19 situation

Confirmed cases: 391

First case reported: 22 February

A 45-year-old woman who arrived in Lebanon from Iran was reported to be the first confirmed case in the country. Local health authorities are conducting contact tracing for all passengers who were on the same flight taken by the infected.

More suspected cases have been reported in the country.

COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia

Confirmed cases: 1,104

First case reported: 02 March

The first coronavirus case in Saudi Arabia was reported in a Saudi citizen who returned from Iran via Bahrain.

The Saudi Ministry of Health has been following up on the COVID-19 situation in the Kingdom and has got 25 hospitals ready as a proactive precautionary measure.

Coronavirus in Palestine

Confirmed cases: 91

First case reported: 05 March

Palestine initially reported seven confirmed coronavirus cases of 05 March. The cases reported were of Palestine nationals in a hotel located in Bethleham in West Bank.

The country has declared a state of emergency to curb the further spread of the disease. Religious places, schools and colleges along with tourists hotels have been asked to temporarily close.

Coronavirus in Oman

Confirmed cases: 1,292

First case reported: 24 February

Oman has reported coronavirus infection in two women who entered from Iran. The patients are reported to be in stable condition. The country has since suspended all civilian flights to Iran.

Coronavirus in Jordan

Confirmed cases: 212

First case reported: 02 March

A Jordanian who returned from Italy more than two weeks prior to being tested positive for coronavirus was reported to be the first coronavirus-infected in Jordan.

The person was tested following the onset of disease symptoms, while family members tested negative.