Iran's president has lashed out at criticism of authorities' lagging response to the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, saying the government has to weigh economic concerns as it takes measures to contain the pandemic.
Syria, meanwhile, reported the first fatality from the virus in the war-torn country, which has five confirmed infections.
State news agency SANA said a woman died upon reaching an emergency room and tested positive for the virus, without saying where it happened.
Syria has closed schools, restaurants and nightclubs, and imposed a curfew last week aimed at preventing the virus' spread.
Its healthcare system has been battered by nearly a decade of civil war, leaving the country particularly vulnerable.
Libya, which has also been mired in chaos since 2011, reported another five cases, bringing its total to eight.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said authorities had to consider the effect of mass quarantine efforts on Iran's beleaguered economy, which is under heavy US sanctions.
"Health is a principle for us but the production and security of society is also a principle for us," Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting.
"We must put these principles together to reach a final decision."
State TV on Sunday reported another 123 deaths, pushing Iran's toll to 2640 amid 38,309 confirmed cases.
In recent days, Iran ordered the closure of non-essential businesses and banned travel between cities but those measures came long after other countries in the region imposed more sweeping lockdowns.
Many Iranians are still flouting orders to stay home.
Iran wants its sanctions lifted and is seeking a $US5 billion ($A8.1 billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Qatar reported its first death from the new coronavirus on Saturday, bringing its case total to at least 590.
In Egypt, at least 1200 Sudanese are stranded at the border after Sudan closed all its crossings, Egyptian officials say.
Sudan, which is still reeling from the uprising that toppled president Omar al-Bashir last year, has six confirmed cases, including two fatalities.
Egypt, which has reported 609 cases and 40 fatalities, has imposed curfews and transaction restrictions to prevent crowding at banks.
Australian Associated Press