Pandemic update

COVID-19 across the Islamic world – Fighting shy of coronavirus

Coronavirus continues unabated. Iran remains a hub of infection, war-torn Syria has recorded its first case and Yemen is bracing itself for the worst. Here’s the latest from across the region

Morocco

Morocco declared a health emergency on 20 March and is restricting movement across the country to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. People may only leave their homes to buy food or medicine or go to work after receiving a permit from the authorities.

"The health emergency does not mean stopping the economy," said the interior ministry, noting that banks, fuel stations and other critical businesses will be able to operate.

Algeria

Algeria has reported 62 new coronavirus cases, bringing to 201 the total number of people infected with the virus, the health ministry said on 22 March. It said a total of 110 cases were recorded in the Blida area, south of the capital.

Tunisia

Tunisia's president ordered a general lockdown on 20 March, limiting citizens' free movement in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. "All of Tunisia is united in this dangerous war. The war has a cost and the exceptional decisions that we announced have a cost, but we have no choice", Fakhfakh said in speech.

 
The government will provide 450 million dinars in financial aid to poor families and Tunisians who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis.

Libya

Libya's internationally recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli has ordered a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to help prevent coronavirus infections, it said in a statement on 21 March.

Libya has not officially confirmed any cases of the coronavirus inside its borders.

Egypt

Egypt has ordered mosques and churches to shut their doors to worshippers in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, after calls for the government to follow steps taken by neighbouring countries.

The North African country reported nine new coronavirus cases and two fatalities on Saturday, the health ministry said in a statement, bringing the totals to 294 confirmed infections and 10 deaths.

Sudan

Sudan confirmed its second case of coronavirus on 20 March in the capital Khartoum, as Khartoum state announced a range of measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

 
Khartoum state has decided to ban all mass gatherings including religious celebrations and rallies, as well as to close wedding halls and sports venues and shisha (water pipe) cafes, the agency said.

Sudan announced its first, fatal case of coronavirus a week ago. The country has closed airports and borders to guard against the illness.

Turkey

Turkish authorities will seize factories of mask-producing firms unless they agree to sell products to the government by Monday night, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was quoted as saying, as Ankara seeks to contain the local coronavirus outbreak.

Turkey's death toll from the virus increased by nine to 30 on Sunday, with 1,256 confirmed cases after a surge in the last two weeks.

Authorities carried out simultaneous raids on the depots of all face mask producers in Turkey early on Sunday to demand they sign contracts with the Health Ministry and stop hoarding stock, Soylu was cited as saying by the Hurriyet newspaper.

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