Jordan blew sirens at the start of a nationwide curfew on 21 March that limits the mobility of its 10 million citizens indefinitely in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus, witnesses and officials said. Anyone violating the curfew, which severely restricts movement beyond emergency and essential services, can be jailed up to a year, the army said.

The curfew, in which thousands of soldiers have been deployed inside cities and on main highways across the country, is in place until further notice. Armoured police vehicles roamed the streets of main cities, calling on people to heed warnings not to leave their homes, witnesses said.


War-ravaged Syria on Sunday confirmed its first case of the coronavirus after weeks of rejecting opposition allegations that the disease had already reached a country with a wrecked health system and thousands of Iranian-backed militias and Shia pilgrims.

Health Minister Nizar al-Yaziji told state media "necessary measures" had been taken regarding the 20-year-old woman, who he said would be quarantined for 14 days and given medical checks.

There have been unconfirmed reports in recent weeks of coronavirus cases in Syria, whose health system, housing and infrastructure have been ravaged by nine years of civil war, but the authorities have denied any outbreak or cover-up.


Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab asked the security forces on Saturday to enforce stricter measures to keep people at home and prevent gatherings to rein in the coronavirus outbreak.

In an address to the nation, Diab said this would include patrols and checkpoints. He called on the Lebanese to go out only if absolutely necessary and warned that the rising number of infections "foreshadows an imminent danger threatening society."

The health ministry recorded on Saturday a 29% rise in cases from the day before, bringing the total to 230, Diab said. Four people have died in the past month.

Lebanon's government declared a medical state of emergency earlier this week and ordered most of the country closed, including the airport.


Israel reported its first fatality from the coronavirus on 20 March. So far, the country has reported 705 cases of coronavirus, the large majority with mild symptoms. About 10 patients are in a serious condition and 15 have recovered completely.

Israel was one of the first countries to enact strict travel restrictions. Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tightened a national stay-at-home policy, saying police would enforce restrictions.


Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with around 1,700 deaths, over 21,000 infected people and one person dying from the virus every 10 minutes, according to the health ministry.

Washington has offered humanitarian assistance to its long-time foe. But the country's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected the offer.

"American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is to lift sanctions .... Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak," Rouhani said in a televised speech.


Iraq's government has extended a curfew on travel in and out of Baghdad until 28 March as part of strict measures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, it said in a statement on Sunday.

It said it had also decided to extend a ban on all inbound and outbound flights from the country's airports until 28 March. Under the curfew imposed on 17 March no persons can travel into or out of Baghdad.

At least 230 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed so far in Iraq, the Health Ministry said on 22 March, and 20 people have died.

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