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Coronavirus: Bahrain records 77 new cases among evacuees from Iran

New cases bring total in kingdom to 189 as Iraq says it has cancelled Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala
The virus continues to spread across the Middle East and North Africa (Reuters)

Bahrain's health ministry said on Wednesday that 77 new coronavirus cases had been recorded among citizens evacuated from Iran by plane this week.

The new cases brought the total number of coronavirus cases recorded by Bahraini health authorities to date to 189, 30 of whom have recovered.

On Tuesday, Turkey reported its first case as the virus continues to spread across the Middle East and North Africa.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters that the virus had been detected in a male citizen who had contracted the disease - officially known as COVID-19 - while in Europe.

Iraq on Wednesday cancelled Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala due to concerns about the coronavirus, a statement from the administration of the city's holy site.

Kerbala, like the neighbouring holy city of Najaf, attracts Shia pilgrims from Iraq and abroad. 

Prayers had already been cancelled last Friday.

On Tuesday, Algeria suspended economic, cultural and political gatherings to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Health Minister Abderrahmane Benbouzid said.

The sports ministry earlier announced the postponement of all international sports gatherings and said local sports events would be played behind closed doors.