Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19

A worker carries luggage at Rafic Hariri international airport during its re-opening in Beirut, Lebanon, 01 July 2020. Rafik Hariri international airport has been closed for several months due to the Covid-19 disease. The airport will operate at 10 percent capacity, which is expected to bring in around 2,000 travelers per day. EPA-EFE/WAEL HAMZEH

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The Middle East has recorded a million cases of Covid-19, and is at a “critical threshold”, the World Health Organisation has warned.

The global health body confirmed on Sunday there were more than one million confirmed cases of the Covid-19 disease across the 22 countries that the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean region covers, stretching from Morocco to Pakistan.

Over 80% of all deaths in the region were reported in five countries: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

“We are at a critical threshold in our region,” the WHO’s Middle East head, Ahmed al-Mandhari, said in an online press conference.

Mandhari said it was a “concerning milestone”.

“The number of cases reported in June alone is higher than the total number of cases reported during the four months following the first reported case in the region on 29 January,” he said.

He attributed the rise in cases to increased testing, but also to the lifting in recent weeks of restrictions put in place to combat the virus’ spread.


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