The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories

The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from 21 May
3 min read
Netflix releases nostalgic Arabic films for Eid under lockdown, Turkey declares 'mission accomplished' in the battle against coronavirus, and other stories in today's daily roundup.
Top stories from the Middle East [TNA]
Here are five stories you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting the Middle East on 21 May:

1. Turkey declares 'Mission Accomplished' in battle against coronavirus

Turkey has declared "Mission Accomplished" in the country's battle against the novel coronavirus, an official said in a tweet on Wednesday, days after recording its lowest daily death rate since March.

Sharing an op-ed he penned for The Washington Times about Turkey's healthcare infrastructure, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's communications director, Fahrettin Altun, stated the country's outbreak has been "contained".

"Turkey under @RTErdogan invested billions in healthcare infrastructure, let top scientists devise a strategy and treated all Covid-19 patients for free," tweeted Altun.

"The result? Our recovery rate is almost 75 percent. The pandemic has been contained. #MissionAccomplished".

Read more here

2. More than 10,000 healthcare workers infected with coronavirus in Iran

The coronavirus has infected more than 10,000 healthcare workers in hard-hit Iran, news outlets reported Thursday.

The report carried by semiofficial news agencies, including ISNA, cited Deputy Health Minister Qassem Janbabaei, who did not elaborate.

However, reports earlier in the week put the number of infected healthcare workers at only 800. Iran says more than 100 of those workers have died.

Iran on Thursday put the number of dead from the virus at 7,249, or 66 more than Wednesday.

Read more here.

3. Netflix releases nostalgic Arabic films, just in time for Eid under lockdown

While much of the world remains in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, Netflix has released an "Arabic nostalgia" playlist featuring classic films and plays from the Arab world.

It comes as Muslims across the globe prepare to celebrate Eid under lockdown, and Netflix hopes that the classic Arabic film fest will keep families entertained during the holidays at home.

Well-known titles such as Kuwait's famed Bye Bye London and Egypt’s Raya and Skeina are coming to Netflix’s permanent selection of films and are fully subtitled, so everyone can enjoy them.

Read more here.


4. Ramadan: In Baghdad, calls to pray keep coronavirus away

Baghdad, a city of nearly 10 million residents, is running on an unusual rhythm this Ramadan since Iraq imposed an overnight curfew to curb the spreading coronavirus.

A few hours before dawn, the wailing voice of Sayyed Mozahem rings out across a small neighbourhood in old Baghdad, amplified by his portable microphone.

Mozahem is the neighbourhood "musaharati", responsible during Ramadan for reminding Muslims to have their final meal before a new day of fasting begins with the sunrise.

"Fasters, wake up," he chants, marching through the streets to the beat of his traditional drum as his older brother and father did before him.

But his refrains have a special twist: "May Ramadan keep the coronavirus away," and "God, spare Iraq from Covid-19".

Read more here.

5. Palestine rejects UAE's 'uncoordinated' coronavirus aid, sent via Israel

The Palestinian Authority has rejected a shipment of coronavirus aid sent by the UAE, which was part of the Gulf state's national carrier's - Etihad Airways - first known flight to Israel.

Palestine's health ministry on Thursday released a statement, declining the aid, which was "sent without coordination".

"UAE aid arrived at Ben Gurion Airport without our knowledge and without coordination with us. Therefore we cannot accept it," the ministry said.

According to a report by Maan News Agency, the aid was rejected by Ramallah.

Read more here.




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