Virus in the Middle East: the WHO warns against easing early

Virus au Moyen-Orient: l’OMS met en garde contre un assouplissement précoce

The world Health Organization (WHO) denounced Tuesday the impact of the conflict in the Middle East in the fight against the pandemic COVID-19, calling on the countries of the region to postpone their measures of relaxing restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the disease.

“The battle is more difficult with the emergence of the virus in countries such as Syria, Libya or Yemen (…) The years of conflict (…) have left systems in fragile health,” said WHO regional director for the eastern Mediterranean Ahmed al-Mandhari, during a virtual press conference.

For Mr. Mandhari, the economic difficulties in the three countries, the bombing and fighting continue in Tripoli in Libya and in the north-east of Syria, in particular, present challenges, in the fight against the sars coronavirus.

In Yemen, more than 13 million inhabitants depend on food aid for their survival, and 8.8 million of them are in need of medical care, making them more vulnerable still to the disease COVID-19, according to the official.

Furthermore, while several countries of the region have embarked on the easing of restrictions put in place to combat the virus, he warned against ” the emergence of premature measures of social distancing “, which according to him could lead to the resurgence of the disease.

Since last week, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq in particular have lightened their curfew for the fasting month of ramadan.

Calling for international solidarity to fight against the pandemic, the WHO regional director emphasized that ” the hour was cooperation between the States “.

“This is not the time to do politics, finger-pointing or” suspicious “.

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