CAIRO, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iran climbed to 9,000 on Wednesday, while Turkey reported its first case of novel coronavirus infection, in a sign that the raging epidemic continues unabated in the Middle East.
Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education announced 958 more COVID-19 cases and 63 new deaths. The death toll climbed to 354, while 2,959 patients have recovered, up by 228 from Tuesday.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani urged Iranian citizens to reduce their travels to help government contain the COVID-19 epidemic.
Iran's Defense Ministry on Wednesday launched the mass production line of advanced thermal cameras to screen people infected with COVID-19.
In Ankara, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed the first case of COVID-19 infection in the country. He warned of the "serious risk" posed by Europe, citing the first patient was a Turkish man who recently returned from Europe.
The minister also warned the Turkish citizens against travelling abroad, unless it is compulsory, while urging those who return from abroad to stay at home for 14 days.
In Turkey's largest city of Istanbul, local authorities scrambled to disinfect public spaces and transport vehicles to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Qatar on Wednesday reported 238 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf nation to 262.
In Beirut, Lebanon's Health Ministry announced the second death from COVID-19, as well as nine new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 61.
Lebanon allocated 39 million U.S. dollars, from a loan given by the World Bank, to fight the coronavirus. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said all Lebanese living abroad could return home within four days.
In Manama, Bahrain's Health Ministry reported 77 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 189.
Israel announced 22 new cases of COVID-19 infection, bringing the total number of infected patients in Israel to 97. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the public to refrain from holding events with over 100 people, revising an earlier order by the Health Ministry to ban gatherings with over 2,000 people.
In Cairo, Egyptian Health Ministry reported eight new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of coronavirus cases to 67, of whom 27 have recovered and one German tourist has died.
In Rabat, Morocco's Health Ministry confirmed the sixth COVID-19 case, who was a 64-year-old French woman of Senegalese origin arriving from France on March 5.
Kuwait's Ministry of Health announced three new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 72. The government decided to suspend work in all government departments from March 12 to 26, while banning people from going to restaurants and cafes.
In Tunis, Tunisian Health Ministry announced the seventh confirmed case of the coronavirus infection, who is a Tunisian national that just returned from Egypt.
In Riyadh, the Saudi Health Ministry reported a new COVID-19 case, bringing to 21 the total number of the confirmed cases in the kingdom. The kingdom decided to close movie theaters "until further notice," as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Oman Air on Wednesday announced that it will suspend all flights with Saudi Arabia, starting on Thursday.
The Kuwaiti government decided to suspend the commercial flights to and from the country, starting on Friday. But the cargo flights would operate normally.
In Algiers, the Algerian flag carrier Air Algerie announced the suspension of its flights to Rome, capital of Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe by the coronavirus. Earlier, the airline already suspended flights to another Italian city of Milan.