HEALTH | WHO Says Mideast At ‘Critical Threshold’ Virus Numbers

GENEVA – The World Health Organization warned Wednesday the Middle East was at a decisive moment in the fight against the novel coronavirus, with cases surging as countries ease lockdown.

‘We are at a critical threshold in our region’, the WHO’s Middle East head, Ahmed al-Mandhari, said in an online press conference.

According to figures published by the global health body on Wednesday, the 22 countries from Morocco to Pakistan had recorded 1,077,706 novel coronavirus cases and 24,973 deaths.

Mandhari said passing a million infections marked a ‘concerning milestone’ and urged countries to strengthen their healthcare systems.

‘The number of cases reported in June alone is higher than the total number of cases reported during the four months following the first reported case in the region on 29 January’, he said.

He attributed the rise in confirmed cases to increased testing, the easing in recent weeks of lockdown measures and weakened health infrastructure in conflict – hit countries.

Over 80 percent of all deaths in re region were reported in five countries – Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – according to the WHO.

Iran, which has been struggling to contain the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak, on Monday recorded its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll.

In now has a recorded a total of 230,211 infections and 19,958 deaths.

Official figures have shown a rising trajectory in new confirmed cases since early May, when Iran hit a near two-month low in daily recorded infections.

The Islamic republic gradually lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen its sanctions – hit economy.

In neighboring Iraq, authorities have refused to reimpose strict lockdown measures, even as hospitals across the country, battered by years of war, have been swamped in recent weeks.

While the virus had spread relatively slowly for months, on Wednesday the number of recorded cases surpassed 51,000 including more than 2,000 deaths.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country with 100 million inhabitants, has officially reported 68,000 cases and around 3,000 deaths from the COVID-19 disease.

On Wednesday, authorities reopened the famed Giza Pyramids after a three – month closure, a day after resuming international flights as parts of efforts to restart the vital tourism industry.

Lebanon, battling an economic crisis and public unrest alongside the novel coronavirus, reopened the Beirut airport after months of closure.

The small eastern Mediterranean state has recorded some of the lowest infection and mortality rates in the Middle East: 1,800 cases and just 34 deaths.

In contrast, neighboring Israel saw a jump of about 15 percent in cases numbers in the last week to over 25,500 on Wednesday, according to government figures.


BREAKING NEWS | Saudi Crown Prince Announces New 5-Year Strategy For Kingdom’s Economy

JEDDAH – – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Sunday launched a new five – year strategy for the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund as Saudi Arabia drives toward achieving its Vision 2030 goal to diversify the economy away from dependence on oil. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) will pump at least $40 billion a … Continue reading BREAKING NEWS | Saudi Crown Prince Announces New 5-Year Strategy For Kingdom’s Economy

CORONAVIRUS ALERT | French Health Body Recommends Delaying Second Covid Shot To Six Weeks After First

PARIS – – France’s top health advisory body on Saturday recommended doubling the time between people being given the first and second Covid-19 vaccination to six weeks from three  in order to increase the number getting inoculated . The gap between the first and second injection in France is currently three weeks for people in … Continue reading CORONAVIRUS ALERT | French Health Body Recommends Delaying Second Covid Shot To Six Weeks After First

BREAKING NEWS | Police Round Up More Than 350 At Russia Protests Backing Jailed Kremlin Foe Navalny

Police detained more than 350 people across Russia on Saturday and broke up rallies around the country as protesters defied bitter cold and a ban by authorities to demand the release of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Navalny had called on his supporter to protest after being arrested last weekend as he returned to Moscow … Continue reading BREAKING NEWS | Police Round Up More Than 350 At Russia Protests Backing Jailed Kremlin Foe Navalny

BUSINESS | UAE Confirms It Inked $23 Billion To Buy F-35 Jets, Drones From U.S.

WASHINGTON – – The United Arab Emirates confirmed that it signed agreements with the United States on former President Donald Trump’s last full day in office to purchase up to 50 F-35 jets, 18 armed drones and other defense equipment in a deal worth $23 billion. The UAE embassy in Washington said in a statement … Continue reading BUSINESS | UAE Confirms It Inked $23 Billion To Buy F-35 Jets, Drones From U.S.

Breaking News | Saudi TV Says Missile Or Drone Intercepted Over Riyadh

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TRAVEL | Denmark Suspend Dubai Flights Amid Doubts Over Virus Tests

 DUBAI – Denmark has temporarily suspended all flights from the United Arab Emirates for five days after suspicion arose that the coronavirus tests that can be obtained before leaving Dubai are not reliable, authorities announced Friday. The development, which comes amid a surge of infections in the UAE, poses a direct challenge to the mass … Continue reading TRAVEL | Denmark Suspend Dubai Flights Amid Doubts Over Virus Tests

BUSINESS | Google Seals Content Payment Deal With French News Publishers

PARIS – – Google and a French publishers’ lobby said on Thursday they had agreed to a copyright framework for the U.S. tech giant to pay news publishers for content online, in a first for Europe.The move paves the way for individual licensing agreements for French publications, some of which have seen revenues drop with … Continue reading BUSINESS | Google Seals Content Payment Deal With French News Publishers

Business News | BioNTech Investors, Amid Worry Over Shortage, Vows Vaccines To Be Delivered For Second Shot

MILAN – European countries should use all available vaccine doses provided by biotech firm BioNTech and its partner Pfizer because there will be enough for the requisite second booster shot due to a planned production ramp – up, BioNTech’s largest investor said. Some countries were believed to be withholding some vaccines for fear of shortage … Continue reading Business News | BioNTech Investors, Amid Worry Over Shortage, Vows Vaccines To Be Delivered For Second Shot

BREAKING NEWS | Arab Coalition Thwarts Two Houthi Attacks

The Saudi – led coalition fighting against Yemen’s Houthi movement said it thwarted two attacks by the Houthis on Friday morning, including destroying an explosive – laden boat in the southern Red Sea, Saudi State TV said on Twitter. The coalition also intercepted and destroyed an explosive – laden drone launched by the Houthis toward … Continue reading BREAKING NEWS | Arab Coalition Thwarts Two Houthi Attacks

ARTS & CULTURE | Lebanon Return Two Stolen 18th – Century Religious Icons To Greece

ATHENS – – Lebanon handed back two 18th – century religious icons of Jesus and Mary to Greece on Tuesday after they were seized during an auction, a judicial sources said. The paintings were stole from an exhibition in Athens in 2016, and Greece put out an international notice calling for their return. Icons are … Continue reading ARTS & CULTURE | Lebanon Return Two Stolen 18th – Century Religious Icons To Greece

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