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Viral infection has now spread to nine Middle Eastern countries, with more than 79,000 cases

Kuwait, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Iraq and Oman on Monday reported their first infections from the new coronavirus, which has killed more than 2,600 globally, the vast majority in China.

Kuwait reported three cases, Oman two and Bahrain and Iraq each confirmed one, bringing the number of countries in the Middle East with the virus - officially known as COVID-19 - to nine.

Meanwhile, Turkey, Pakistan and Armenia have closed their borders with Iran, where authorities reported 61 coronavirus infections and 12 deaths.

China had 150 new confirmed deaths from the coronavirus on Sunday, the National Health Commission announced.

The death toll nationwide on Monday had climbed to 2,595 among 77,262 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization.

South Korea's cases continued to balloon, reaching 833 with seven confirmed deaths.

And in Italy, seven deaths have been reported in the country's north and the number of confirmed cases has risen to 229, prompting emergency measures in a number of Europeam countries.

Kuwait suspends flights to and from Iraq: state news agency

Kuwait's civil aviation authority has suspended all its flights to and from Iraq over fears about the coronavirus, state news agency KUNA reported.

The statement was issued in accordance with the Kuwaiti health ministry's instructions.

Impact on economy could be 'very strong': Italy's PM Conte

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy could be "very strong".

"The economic impact could be very strong. At this moment we can calculate that there will be a negative economic impact, we are not yet in a position to forecast what will happen," he told reporters.

Source: Aljazeera

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