Egypt is reporting its first death from the coronavirus, or COVID-19 — a German tourist who came down with the infection during a visit to Luxor. Increasing numbers of casualties from the virus in Iran also have the government there scrambling, while some Gulf states have closed schools and stopped flights to neighboring countries.
Egypt is testing tourists for the coronavirus (COVID-19) at Cairo Airport, after a number of foreign visitors came down with the disease and a German man died after visiting Luxor.
The government has also closed schools and some universities to prevent the outbreak from worsening.
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed told journalists that those suspected of having the virus are being isolated and monitored by health professionals.
She said that Egypt is isolating suspected cases and treating them for fever and other symptoms with antibiotics.
Zayed said there have only been 11 serious instances of the virus, so far, out of at least 55 reported cases.
Iran, the most seriously hit Middle Eastern country with hundreds of reported cases, is spraying workers with chemical disinfectant in the hard-hit province of Gilar. At least 200 people have died from the virus in Iran, and photos of dozens of victims being prepared for burial are posted on social media. Many doctors and nurses have also contracted the virus, complicating treatment in many places.
Residents of the Iranian town of Mahmoud Abad were shown on social media stopping drivers with cars registered in other towns from entering. One video posted on social media showed officials in the town of Hormuz telling residents to remain in their homes.
In Saudi Arabia, a health ministry official told journalists that the country now has more than 15 confirmed coronavirus cases, of which at least 11 came from outside the country, including one American. He added that several thousand people have been tested for the virus, so far.
The United Arab Emirates, which like Egypt has closed schools, is reporting at least 59 cases of the virus. Kuwait, which has suspended flights to many neighboring countries, reports more than 65 cases, while Qatar reported at least 15 and Oman at least 12.
Djamel Fourar, the Algerian health ministry director general of prevention, has indicated that around 400 suspected carriers of the virus have been tested. Only 11 confirmed cases have been reported, so far.
Amateur videos on social media showed Iraqi health professionals handing out face masks free of charge in Baghdad and doctors in Anbar province urging area residents to wear a mask to prevent the disease from spreading further. More than 60 people have reportedly been infected with the virus in Iraq and at least six have died.
Lebanon, which has at least 28 confirmed cases, has closed schools, nightclubs, restaurants and some sports facilities to prevent the virus from spreading further. Amateur video showed pilgrims flocking to the tomb of a local saint for its possible healing powers.