The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from 1 July

The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from 1 July
In Iran, nearly 11,000 have died due to Covid-19, whereas Turkey is urging the EU to include it in the list of 'safe' coronavirus partners.
3 min read
01 July, 2020
Here's your daily Middle East coronavirus update [TNA]

Five stories you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting the Middle East on 1 July. 
1. Turkey urges EU to correct 'mistake' over safe travel list omission

Turkey on Wednesday urged the EU to correct the "mistake" of excluding it from the bloc's list of safe coronavirus travel partners, saying it was disappointed by the move.

On Tuesday, Brussels produced a list of 15 countries, including Australia and Morocco, whose health situation was deemed safe enough to allow their citizens to travel to the EU from 1 July.

But the United States was notably excluded along with Russia and Turkey.

"The lack of Turkey's presence on the list is disappointing," Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

Turkey has recorded 5,131 deaths since the first reported case of Covid-19 while nearly 200,000 people have been infected, according to health ministry figures on Tuesday.

Read more here

2. Iran coronavirus deaths inches towards 11,000

Iran has confirmed 141 more deaths from Covid-19, bringing the nation’s death toll to 10,958.

This comes as a further 2,549 people tested positive for the virus, raising the overall count to 230,211, Health Ministry Spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari said.

She added that a total of 191,487 people have recovered and been discharged from hospitals so far, with 3,081 patients still in critical condition.

Over 1.69 million tests have been conducted in the country to date.

3. Spain refuses to open borders to Morocco 

Spain has refused to open borders to Morocco, despite a recommendation of the EU Council to all EU and Schengen Area Member States to open borders to 15 third-countries ranked as safe amid coronavirus, among which is the North African country and China.

While borders will open to the other 13, countries in the list – which are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay – Spain refuses to open its borders to China and Morocco in a reciprocal move.

According to governmental spokesperson Maria Jesus Montero borders “will be opened when these states allow entry into their territories” of the Spanish residents.

4. Mosques in UAE open after months of stringent lockdown 

Mosques in the United Arab Emirates have re-opened following more than three months of closures due to Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Worshippers had to follow strict guidelines, including leaving an empty row between people praying.

Worshippers were also instructed to wear masks and gloves, and to bring their own prayer mats to the mosque.

The Adhan has been changed back to the regular format with the phrase "come to prayer", instead of the "pray at home" phrase that was in place during the closure period.

5. Lebanon extends lockdown measures to August

The Lebanese cabinet announced it intends to extend lockdown measures amid a surge in coronavirus infections, according to local paper The Daily Star.

Read more: Disaster looms for Egypt's political prisoners as coronavirus fears mount

"The repercussions of this wave could be effective in the spread of the virus. Therefore, there is a need to extend the mobilization," said Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

Diab said he expected a second wave of the virus in October.

This will be the seventh extension of restrictions on general mobilisation since it was enforced on 15 March.

The Health Ministry announced 33 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to 1,778.
The official death toll figure is 34.

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