(CAIRO) — Libya recorded its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on Tuesday, the U.N.-backed authorities introduced, stoking concern that an outbreak might overwhelm the war-torn nation’s already weakened well being care system.
Because the coronavirus pandemic sweeps throughout the Center East, international locations have sought to sluggish the rise of instances by limiting the actions of a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of individuals. The Arab world’s most populous nation, Egypt, in addition to Syria, a rustic ravaged by 9 years of conflict, grew to become the most recent international locations to impose nightly curfews beginning this week.
The Worldwide Financial Fund in the meantime mentioned that shortages in essential medical provides might drive up costs and inflict ache on the Mideast’s poorest nations.
There are over 31,000 instances of the virus throughout the Mideast, the overwhelming majority within the hard-hit nation of Iran. Whereas most recuperate from the virus and the COVID-19 sickness that it causes, it’s extremely contagious and causes extreme sickness in some sufferers, notably the aged and people with weakened immune techniques. Bottoming crude oil costs have put further pressure on even the area’s wealthiest international locations, affecting their potential to manage because the virus strains medical techniques worldwide.
A 73-year-old man who crossed into Libya from neighboring Tunisia on March 5 grew to become the massive North African nation’s first recorded case. The Libyan affected person had not too long ago traveled to Saudi Arabia, in keeping with the Nationwide Heart for Illness Management, and is receiving medical therapy for his fever and cough in isolation at a Tripoli hospital.
The affirmation of Libya’s first case, three weeks after the affected person’s arrival within the nation, poses a take a look at for its fragile medical system. Makes an attempt at a nationwide illness safety program have been undermined by the nation’s division between two rival governments, within the east and west of the nation, and a patchwork of armed teams supporting both administration. Even on Tuesday, Tripoli’s suburbs got here underneath heavy fireplace because the United Nations appealed for a freeze in preventing so authorities might give attention to stopping the unfold of the coronavirus.
In the meantime in Egypt, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly advised reporters that the 11-hour nationwide curfew from 7 p.m. till 6 a.m. would go into impact Wednesday, throughout which public transportation would additionally come to a halt. Egypt has confirmed 402 instances and 22 fatalities, together with two senior navy officers.
Madbouly introduced the continued closure of airports, faculties and universities till April 12. He mentioned non-essential retailers will shut Fridays and Saturdays, Egypt’s weekend. The federal government has already locked down populous vacationer cities within the south and the Pink Sea, in addition to shuttered museums and archeological websites, together with the famed Giza Pyramids.
President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi warned that makes an attempt to violate the introduced measures could be met with “the utmost firmness and decisiveness.”
With mosques closed, dozens of individuals within the Mediterranean metropolis of Alexandria took to their balconies earlier than daybreak to hope for assist towards the virus, on-line movies confirmed. Different footage confirmed some three dozen folks spilling right into a aspect road and chanting: “There isn’t a God however Allah, and Muhammad is his Messenger.” A number of of the individuals have been later arrested.
In Syria, the place the healthcare system has been decimated by almost a decade of civil conflict, the federal government mentioned an apparently open-ended nightly curfew starting at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT) will go into impact Wednesday.
Syria has reported just one case of the coronavirus to date, but it surely has enforced strict containment measures in government-held areas together with grounding business flights, closing borders and shutting down eating places and public transportation. Lengthy traces streamed exterior grocery shops, banks and fuel stations throughout the Syrian capital, Damascus, as folks braced for wider closures.
The IMF, which historically has advised governments to implement higher austerity measures, was urging Mideast governments to supply momentary tax aid and money transfers. It warned an absence of medical provides might damage Iraq, Sudan and Yemen if it results in a surge in costs.
“Given the massive numbers of individuals employed within the service sector, there will likely be vast reverberations if unemployment rises and wages and remittances fall,” the IMF’s director for the Center East, Jihad Azour, mentioned in assertion.
Within the impoverished Gaza Strip, which has detected two coronavirus instances, Hamas-run spiritual authorities shut down all mosques for 2 weeks. Qatari-funded shipments of meals, electrical home equipment, garments, furnishings and gasoline arrived Tuesday at momentary quarantine facilities in Gaza, a part of a $150 million increase from the oil-rich nation to combat the virus. Gaza’s Well being Ministry has opened greater than 20 quarantine amenities housing 1,400 folks.
An Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza, imposed when the militant group took energy in 2007, has slowed the arrival of the brand new virus to the densely populated Palestinian enclave.
The worst outbreak within the Mideast is unfolding in Iran, the place authorities reported one other 122 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the entire variety of fatalities to greater than 1,900 amid greater than 24,800 confirmed instances. The useless included the mother-in-law of the son of Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the state-run IRNA information company mentioned Monday.
Well being Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour warned the general public that infections will possible rise additional, as Iran has improved its testing capabilities. The ministry has launched a web site for the general public to report suspected instances, alerting medical workers to manage assessments.
The sultanate of Oman in the meantime introduced it could halt all passenger flights starting Sunday, though cargo flights would proceed.
Saudi Arabia reported Tuesday that its virus instances jumped from 562 to 767, and included its first loss of life.
Aji reported from Damascus, Syria. Related Press writers Jon Gambrell and Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Fares Akram in Gaza Metropolis, Gaza Strip; Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran; and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad, Pakistan contributed to this report.
The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives help from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely chargeable for all content material.