The coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East is starting to take a toll on the society as Iran warned of a potential second wave and other countries across the region gradually tighten measures to fight the CoVID-19 strain.
Iran Halts Internal Travel
On Wednesday, Tehran announced that internal travel is no longer allowed among citizens and other nations in Iran. Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said the move came after some people still traveled during the new year holidays despite urging from authorities to stay home, BBC reported.
On the other hand, the Iranian government also has been refusing to tighten its anti-CoVID-19 measures despite a significant increase in new cases in the country.
As of Wednesday, Iran recorded a total of 27,017 confirmed coronavirus cases and 2,077 deaths.
Israel Reports 2 New Deaths
Israel has also been reeling from the coronavirus outbreak as the government confirmed two new deaths in the country on Wednesday.
According to the Anadolu Agency, 240 new cases were also recorded on the same day, marking a new uptrend in coronavirus cases in the country as it gradually catches up to other nations being hard-hit by the novel virus.
As part of the measures to hopefully prevent further infections, the government called for the closure of restaurants, malls, cafes, bars, hotels, and other entertainment establishments.
Israel now has a total of 2,170 confirmed coronavirus cases and five deaths.
Saudi Arabia Locks Down 3 Cities
Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Wednesday ordered the lockdown of Madinah, Makkah, and capital Riyadh as the country grapples with the coronavirus.
Madinah and Makkah in particular are holy cities and known for having tourist spots that travelers visit annually. As part of King Salman's order, no one can enter or exit the three cities and the said lockdown will kick off on Thursday.
A curfew will also be in place for three weeks starting 3:00 p.m. local time. Previously, the curfew was set at 7:00 p.m. As of Tuesday, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reported a total of 767 confirmed CoVID-19 cases and one death.
Egypt Extends School Closures to Mid-April
Egypt has also started implementing stricter measures to contain the novel virus as the government announced the extension of school closures to sometime mid-April.
According to Al Jazeera, a new curfew has also been set for all residents and public and private transportation. No one is allowed to loiter in streets starting 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. as part of the government's prevention measures.
For the next two weeks, all gyms, clubs, cafes, and other similar establishments will be closed. Food-related businesses will only be allowed to sell for home delivery service. A fine of up to $255 will be slapped on anyone violating the new orders.
As of Wednesday, Egypt has recorded a total of 366 confirmed coronavirus cases and 19 deaths.
Fake News Destroys Iraq's Hope for a Cure
Multiple Iraqi media outlets on Tuesday reported that a local pharmaceutical company, Pioneer, has come up with a treatment for the CoVID-19 strain. Even well-known Iraqi news channels made accounts of the report.
After people in the country rejoiced too early about the news, Pioneer outed a statement on Wednesday, clarifying that it has not found a sure treatment for the novel virus and is not working on finding a potential cure.
Pioneer head of marketing Ahmed Yusuf explained that starting work on a potential CoVID-19 cure or treatment will require a lot of resources and unfortunately, Iraq does not have the required resources to kickoff a mission in this regard.
Syrian Rescue Group Establishes Two Teams in CoVID-19 Battle
In Syria, volunteer and rescue group Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets) launched a campaign to help the government fight the battle against the novel coronavirus.
The first team will focus on raising awareness about the background of the CoVID-19 strain, including symptoms and potential preventive measures such as proper hygiene and the likes.
The second team, on the other hand, has been tasked to disinfect streets, mosques, schools, and other public spaces as a means of assisting the government in fighting war-torn Syria's invisible enemy.
UAE Reports 85 New Coronavirus Cases
The United Arab Emirates on Wednesday reported 85 new coronavirus cases and seven people who have recovered from the highly-infectious disease.
Spokesperson of the UAE's health department Dr. Farida Al Hosani during a press briefing urged people to stay at home during the CoVID-19 outbreak and to only step out for important chores or reasons, Gulf News reported.
Furthermore, Al Hosani noted that citizens should wait for coronavirus testing methods official announced and approved by the government and to refrain from using advertised tests that have not been recommended by the health department.
The UAE now has a total of 333 confirmed CoVID-19 cases and 52 recovered patients.