Coronavirus infections rise in Middle East

Since raising its head in central China late last year, the new coronavirus has come to affect 157 countries and territories.

Here is a breakdown of the toll exacted on the region by the virus that has so far killed more than 5,800 people and infected upwards of 153,500 others worldwide:

Persian Gulf

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar, which together comprise the regional Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), have raised their total number of infections to 963, Reuters reported.

The number includes 118 cases in Saudi Arabia, 98 in the UAE, and 401 in Qatar.

Among the countries, Bahrain has reported one death, with the tiny island country’s ministry of health identifying the fatality on Twitter as a 65-year-old woman with pre-existing medical conditions.

The toll comes amid accusations against some of the states of trying to cover up the extent of the outbreak.

Saudi Arabia has locked down the Shia-majority Qatif region in its Eastern Province. The UAE, meanwhile, has identified its most recent cases as “12 more travel-linked” infections.

Outdoing the rest, the kingdom and Kuwait halted international passenger flights, while the UAE and Qatar restricted entry visas, and Oman said it would start taking in only GCC citizens as of Tuesday.

In Iran, which has repeatedly asserted its adherence to transparency concerning matters that relate to the outbreak, the Health Ministry has announced 13,938 infections, 4,790 cases of recovery, and 726 deaths.

The Islamic Republic has urged close regional cooperation in the face of the crisis, and urged strongly against politicization of the situation.