Iran reported a record rise of 129 fatalities from the new coronavirus on Monday, pushing its total death toll to 853 amid nearly 15,000 confirmed cases. Lebanon went into lockdown and Iraqis prepared for a curfew as part of regional efforts to contain the new coronavirus.
Businesses have nevertheless remained open in Iran, with the divergent approaches adopted by local authorities reflecting continued uncertainty over how to slow the spread of a virus that has infected around 170,000 people worldwide and caused more than 6,500 deaths.
Some have opted for an even more aggressive response, with Israel authorizing the use of phone-snooping technology long used against Palestinian militants to track coronavirus patients. Civil liberties advocates say the practice will renew debate over privacy issues.
Most people experience only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover within weeks. But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by people with no visible symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Panic broke out in Iraq after authorities announced a weeklong curfew late on Sunday. People raced to supermarkets and swiftly emptied shelves, while others stocked up on kerosene and cooking gas. The curfew, which is set to begin late Tuesday, includes the suspension of all flights from Baghdad’s international airport.
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