Coronavirus cases across Middle East increased to 107,000 on Monday morning as the infections reached a grim milestone in the region. As recently as March 27 there were less than 50,000 cases.
The largest number have been in Iran where there are now more than 58,000 cases according to officials. Israel has the third most registered cases at 8,600, while Turkey has 27,000.
Coronavirus came to the region in February and rapidly spread to Iran. In late February it was believed there were already 750 cases in Qom and Tehran.
However authorities there covered up the outbreak until they could hold March 21 elections. Since then Iran has been rocked by the virus with military and IRGC units sent to disinfect streets and aid people in need.
The country views the virus as a “biological war” and has blamed the US. It also says the US should lift economic sanctions. Numerous officials and politicians have become sick. This raises questions about Iran’s abilities to continue to export weapons across the region as part of its strategy to confront the US, Israel and Gulf states. So far Iran appears to have continued its policy of support Iraqi proxy attacks on the US, and also flying in weapons to Syria as well as supporting Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia from Yemen.
Iran is not the only major center of Covid-19 today. Turkey has seen a rapid increase in the virus as well and Istanbul has become a hotspot. This is partly due to Turkey also trying to pretend it was “virus-free” in early March. Now the country is expanding testing and trying to get a hold of the threat. Like in Iran the virus may cut down on Turkey’s constant military attacks on neighbors, including invasions of northern Syria and attacks on Iraq. The spread of the virus has left Turkish-backed Syrian rebels that were sent to Libya stranded.
Read more via Jerusalem Post