WHO warns of deadly second wave of virus across the Middle-east

Pratham Chitlangiya

24th November 2020

The Middle-east is anticipating the second wave of the virus (Source: Republic World)

The regional director of the World Health Organisation announced that the only way one can avoid the wrath of the virus is for countries to take necessary preventive measures and tighten the existing restrictions quickly. As the northern hemisphere goes into winter, the potency of the virus also increases.

Ahmed al-Mandhari, director of WHO’s eastern Mediterranean region, which covers most of the centre-east; announced during a press briefing from Cairo that countries within the area were loosening their grip after tough lockdowns. The elemental response to an epidemic, right from washing one’s hand to social distancing, remains not fully practised within the Middle East region. He further mentioned that the results of this are catastrophic; since most of the hospitals are crowded throughout. He also expressed concern over the very fact that the virus has sickened over 36 lakh people and killed over 76,000 within the region over the past 9 months.

Al-Mandhari warned that the lives of the people are at stake, urging people to stop this tragic premonition from becoming a reality. Iran, Jordan and Morocco reported 60 per cent of the cases while the rest of the cases are from Pakistan and Lebanon. Earlier, Jordan, Tunisia and Lebanon have reported the most important single-day death spikes from the region.

However, Iran has been the worst of all the regions, where cases have spiked at an increasing rate, thereby leading to full capacity in hospitals, and a rise in healthcare costs significantly. The Iranian government, which was reluctant to impose the lockdown for fear of catering sanctions-hit economy, will now tighten grip within the capital of Tehran and other major cities. But with such little steps, no scope of improvement is to be seen.

Faisal Sultan, the special assistant to the Prime Minister for National Health Services, Pakistan, told reporters that the winter surge had arrived. He further mentioned that Pakistan had managed to regulate the initial outbreak significantly but the second wave as risky as the first one.

Tunisia is another country that made the blunder of thinking that the virus is gone and over, only to witness cases soar in recent weeks. It loosened its grip to coexist with the virus cautiously, said Faycal Ben Salah, Director-General of Health after it had been decided that the economy was in shambles and creating catastrophic social consequences.

Even while Al-Mandhari welcomed the news of viable vaccine candidates, he said pandemic was far away from over.

(Sources: Economic Times, Republic World, AJC, Al Jazeera)

Edited by: Suditi Jha

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