The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from 1 April

The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from 1 April
The second richest man in Egypt has threatened to kill himself poverty is on the rise and Israeli settlers are trying to infect Palestinians by spitting in today's daily roundup.
3 min read
01 April, 2020
Today's daily coronavirus roundup [TNA]

Here are five stories you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting the Middle East and beyond on 1 April: 

Oil prices fall again, as US-Saudi 'OPEC alternative' deal is put on ice 

Oil prices plunged again on Wednesday as a possible production deal between the US and Saudi Arabia was put on hold, according to news agencies.

Brent fell by 1.8 percent to $25.88, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was down to $20.6, according to Reuters, despite a brief rise in prices on Tuesday.

An oversupply in the market has continued to hammer prices with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members unable to reach an agreement on cutting oil production.

Read more here

Coronavirus to plunge 8 million into poverty in the Arab world, says UN

The coronavirus pandemic will plunge 8.3 million people in the Arab region into poverty, the United Nation's Economic and Social Commission for

Western Asia said on Wednesday.

ESCWA also warned that two million people could become undernourished as a result.

"With today's estimates, a total of 101.4 million people in the region would be classified as poor, and 52 million as undernourished," the UN agency said. 

Women and young adults working in the informal sector and who have no access to social welfare are among the most vulnerable, said ESCWA executive secretary Rola Dashti.

Read more here 

Algeria leader urges 'discipline' as coronavirus cases rise

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune urged citizens to be "disciplined" in the fight against the novel coronavirus, as cases rose.

Algeria had recorded 716 cases from Covid-19 as of Wednesday, with 44 deaths, according to John Hopkins coronavirus tracker. 

"You must be disciplined. We lack discipline," Tebboune said. "People must respect preventive measures and doctors' advice."

Read more here

Egyptian tycoon Sawiris threatens to 'commit suicide' if coronavirus curfew is extended

Outspoken Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has claimed he will kill himself if special measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus are not lifted soon.

Speaking to the presenter Lamees al-Hadidi on the Al-Hadath TV channel, Sawiris said: “let me tell you something, I will commit suicide if they extend the [curfew] period”.

Sawiris, who is Egypt's second richest man, cited questionable data about the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that it "only kills one per cent of patients, who are mostly elderly people.”

Read more here

Israeli settlers spit on cars to 'infect Palestinians with coronavirus' in Jerusalem

Israeli settlers spat on Palestinian cars in the village of Beit Iksa, northwest of East Jerusalem in what locals fear is an attempt to spread the deadly novel coronavirus.

The settlers from Ramot on reportedly spat at cars driven by Palestinians that were entering and leaving the village. 

Local Palestinians say this was a case of trying to spread coronavirus after a number of the settler population was tested positive for deadly disease.

Palestinian youth chased the settlers away after confronting them. They then proceeded to disinfect the road and cars to prevent an outbreak.

Read more here

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