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Middle East

Covid-19 surges across Middle East and North Africa, in nations both rich and poor

July 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Two Iranian hospital personnel carrying bodies of an Afghan man and an Iranian woman who have died from the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by a mobile bed to a morgue in the Firoozabadi hospital in the Shahre-Rey neighborhood in southern Tehran at midnight on June 20, 2020. (Photo by Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via AP)

Coronavirus is surging in some of the most populous nations in the Middle East and North Africa, with reported cases hitting record highs in recent weeks.

Abu Dhabi, UAE (CNN)Coronavirus is surging in some of the most populous nations in the Middle East and North Africa, with reported cases hitting record highs in recent weeks.

In Egypt, the social media account for the doctors' union resembles an obituary page -- more than 100 health workers have died from the virus.

Neighboring Iran crossed the 245,000-case mark last week after its highest official daily death toll since the start of the virus outbreak.

Iran was the first country in the region to witness an outbreak, but the spread began to slow in May. The resurgence of the virus in recent weeks comes two months after the country began to loosen its lockdown.

At least 117 frontline workers have died from the virus and more than 400 have tested positive since the outbreak began in Egypt in mid-February, according to the doctors' group.

"Health care workers in Egypt have been arrested, criminalized and prosecuted simply for daring to express their personal safety concerns and, in some cases, have been denied access to adequate health care," Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

"Aid workers have feared the appearance of coronavirus in northwest Syria for months," said Kieren Barnes, Mercy Corps Country Director for Syria, said in a statement last week.

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