Risk of “catastrophic” coronavirus surge in the Middle East: WHO | Coronavirus pandemic news
The agency said that Libya, Iran, Iraq and Tunisia have seen a significant increase in cases, and that Lebanon and Morocco are expected to increase sharply.
The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that the surge in coronavirus cases in several countries in the Middle East could have dire consequences, which will be exacerbated by the spread of Delta variants and insufficient vaccine supplies.
The agency said that after the number of cases and deaths have fallen for eight consecutive weeks, there has been a significant increase in cases in Libya, Iran, Iraq and Tunisia, and cases in Lebanon and Morocco are expected to increase sharply.
Countries in the region will celebrate the Muslim Eid al-Adha next week, which traditionally includes religious and social gatherings that may spread the infection.
The agency’s regional office said in a statement: “WHO is concerned that the current COVID-19 boom may continue to peak in the coming weeks with disastrous consequences.”
According to the WHO, the culprit is the lack of compliance with public health and social measures, as well as “communities becoming more and more complacent,” as well as low vaccination rates and the spread of new variants.
The agency emphasized that Tunisia has the highest per capita coronavirus mortality rate in the region and Africa, and pointed out that in the four weeks to the beginning of July, Iran’s daily cases have almost doubled.
The statement said that overall, the number of COVID-19 cases reported in the Eastern Mediterranean region, including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Djibouti, and Middle Eastern countries, has exceeded 11.4 million.
It added that more than 223,000 deaths were reported.