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Special coverage: How many coronavirus cases are there in the Middle East?

Date of publication: 26 March, 2020

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The New Arab provides sensitive meaningful coverage of the coronavirus story, questioning the efforts of those in power to protect their citizens, and delivering facts, analysis and stories of bravery.
Last updated: 3 April 17:00 GMT

In early March, the World Health Organization declared that coronavirus's global outbreak qualifies as a pandemic, with containment efforts unlikely to succeed.

The novel coronavirus 'Covid-19' had originated in Wuhan, a major city in China's Hubei province, in late December, although some reports indicate the first case surfaced in November.

Since then, it has spread to the rest of Asia, Europe, North Africa, and the wider world.

Estimates of the morality rate vary, but it seems to particularly affect elderly people and those with underlying health conditions. Symptoms include a dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath.

The first case of coronavirus to hit the Middle East was detected in the UAE in early February. Since then, clusters of the contagious disease emerged in Iran, now one of the most hard hit countries outside Chinia; and it is feared the virus has taken hold in Egypt

With every passing day, more and more tourists returning to their countries from the popular North African destination are testing positive for Covid-19, but the authorities there have been accused of covering up the real figures.

As of March 28, the number of confirmed cases across the Middle East and North Africa region has surpassed 86,000.

The confirmed cases in 22 MENA nations are as follows:

Iran: Cases 50,468; deaths reported: 3,160
Israel: 7030; 36 deaths
18,135; 356 deaths
Saudi Arabia1885; 21 deaths
 949; 3 deaths
Bahrain: 643; 4 deaths
Egypt: 865; 58 deaths
Iraq: 772; 54 deaths
Algeria: 986; 86 deaths
 417; 0 deahts
Lebanon: 508, 17 deaths
UAE: 1024; 8 deaths
Morocco: 735; 47 deaths
Jordan: 299; 5 deaths
Tunisia: 455; 14 deaths
Oman: 252; 1 death
Palestine: 171; 1 death
Syria: 16, 2 death
Mauritania: 6, 1 deaths
Somalia: 5, 0 deaths
Sudan: 8, 2 deaths
Libya: 11, 0 deaths

For a daily updated visual breakdown of the cases per country, scroll down to the infographic below.

In the coming weeks and months, the world's nations will hope to slow down its spread instead, through 'social distancing', ramped up hygiene, and restrictions on travel, although experts are divided on how extreme the level of these measures should be. 

Many are hoping warmer temperatures will have a curbing effect on the contagion.
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The virus is causing disruption and upheaval on a hitherto unseen scale.

Already ravaged by conflict, poverty, inequality, and poor governance, the MENA region is among the worst prepared for this outbreak.

MENA economies have been hit hard by the virus. Nations that rely on oil revenues are reeling as global demand for oil collapses, while those that rely on tourism and services face an uncertain future as visitors stay away and governments take draconian measures, effectively shutting down their entire public sphere to contain the virus, such as the case of Lebanon.

There are political and humanitarian ramifications too, from the Syrian refugee question in the light of the regional outbreak, to the effect of authoritarianism on government responses, and the Israeli capitalisation on the crisis to further clampdown on Palestinians in the occupied territories.

But with these bleak times, come stories of solidarity and heroism, from Iraq to Lebanon, as health workers risk their lives to protect patients and the larger community.

Throughout this challenging time, The New Arab's team will provide sensitive and meaningful coverage of the coronavirus story, questioning the efforts of those in power to protect their citizens in the region, and delivering facts, analysis and stories of bravery and resilience.

Click on Special Content below for an up-to-date collection of our in-depth and opinion articles on the implications of Covid-19 for this region and its people.

For our daily round ups of top Covid-19 related stories, please click here

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