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Turkish health minister describes ‘scary’ rise in cases – as it happened

  • October 29, 2020

After Iran’s record daily death toll was announced earlier, the health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told the country in a televised address that Iran was “in a full-scale war with the coronavirus”.

“The main condition for overcoming this disease … and challenge is seeing change in the beliefs and attitudes of every single person,” Lari said.

She said 27 of Iran’s 31 provinces were currently “red” – the highest risk level on the country’s colour-coded scale.

The country’s health minister, Saeed Namaki, told state television on Wednesday that daily tests were to be ramped up to “25,000 to 40,000 or even more”, without giving details.

Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei attends a meeting to discuss the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday. Photograph: Iranian Supreme Leader’S Office/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

As the health crisis deepens, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made a rare public meeting with the coronavirus taskforce on Saturday.

The country “must do everything” to reduce the number of deaths, Khamenei said.

Many other countries in the Middle East have also witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases, AFP reports.

In neighbouring Iraq, a lockdown imposed early in the pandemic has been dropped for economic reasons, even as deaths have topped 11,000 out of 460,000 confirmed cases.

Jordan recorded its highest total on Tuesday, with more than 3,800 cases and 44 deaths, reaching a total of 668 dead out of 58,855 declared cases of Covid-19.

The kingdom has taken a series of measures to curb its second wave, including imposing a night-time curfew.

Saudi Arabia has been the worst-hit among the Arab countries in the Gulf, with more than 346,000 infections and 5,300 deaths.

In Israel and the Palestinian territories, more than 363,000 cases have been reported, with recent measures including lockdowns and partial curfews.

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