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Palestine declares state of emergency to tackle coronavirus outbreak

March 13, 2020 at 2:06 pm

Palestinian workers disinfect places of worship as a preventive measure amid fears of the spread of the novel coronavirus on 12 March 2020 [Ashraf Amra/ApaImages]

Four new cases of the coronavirus have been detected in the occupied West Bank bringing the total number of infections to 35 and forcing the government to declare a 30-day state of emergency yesterday.

The cases have been found in the Bethlehem and patients have been quarantined.

Iran, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after China, has reported 11,364  people infected with 514 deaths. Satellite pictures, first reported by the New York Times, show two large burial trenches, recently dug in Behesht-e Masoumeh cemetery, about 80 miles south of Tehran, which are expected to be used to bury those affected.

In Lebanon, banks will close tomorrow in order to take steps to sanitise branches and prevent the spread of coronavirus, the country’s banking association said in a statement today. Lebanon has so far recorded 77 cases of coronavirus and three deaths, according to the health ministry.

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The Turkish health minister said a second patient has been confirmed with coronavirus today. The Turkish presidential spokesman also announced primary and secondary schools will be closed next week to avoid the spread of the virus. Some 90,000 mosques were sterilised across the country ahead of Friday prayers today.

On social media, users shared what appeared to be a video of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein talking about the coronavirus, fuelling claims the disease was began as part of biological warfare efforts.

But Raghad Saddam Hussein, the daughter of the late president, denied the authenticity of the video and wrote on Twitter that “the clip is fabricated”, and that the voice is of someone else and not that of her father.

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