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CAIRO, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Iraq set a new record of daily COVID-19 cases in 2021 with 1,135 infections confirmed on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Israel said it will start gradually lifting the lockdown restrictions next week.

The Iraqi Ministry of Health said its total nationwide cases climbed to 621,755 with the addition of the 1,135 new cases.

The ministry also reported 11 new deaths, raising the death toll from the infectious virus in Iraq to 13,068, and 1,210 new recovered cases, bringing the total recoveries to 594,594.

Hassan Nadhim, spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, said at a press conference after the weekly cabinet meeting that the government decided to impose strict measures on all workers in the ministries and other institutions, as well as a ban on gatherings.

In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will begin "gradually" lifting COVID-19 lockdown restrictions next week.

He said the country's large-scale coronavirus vaccination rollout is "a key" to exiting the pandemic and the third nationwide lockdown which was imposed on Dec. 27, 2020.

Israel's Ministry of Health reported 7,951 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total tally in the country to 659,356. The death toll from the COVID-19 in Israel reached 4,886 after 73 new fatalities were added, while the total recoveries rose by 8,777 to 581,982.

Turkey reported 7,795 new COVID-19 cases, including 630 symptomatic patients, and 120 more deaths from the disease, pushing up its tally of infections to 2,492,977 and its total fatalities to 26,237.

The total number of recoveries in Turkey rose by 8,639 to 2,379,070, according to the Turkish Health Ministry.

Iran announced 6,820 new COVID-19 infections and 72 more deaths on Tuesday, raising its total cases to 1,431,416 and its death toll to 58,110. The total recoveries in Iran surged by 6,892 to 1,223,197.

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday a temporary ban on the entry of citizens from 20 countries, including Argentina, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, the United States, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India, and Japan.

The ban, effective on Wednesday, is part of the kingdom's precautionary measures against COVID-19 due to a recent spike in new infections.

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