The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories 6 April

The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories 6 April
3 min read
06 April, 2020
As thousands of Afghans flee the regional 'coronavirus epicentre' in Iran, Egypt leaves hundreds of its citizens stranded in Qatar in today's roundup.
Here are five stories you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic [TNA]
Here are five stories you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic and how it is affecting the Middle East and beyond on 6 April: 

Oil drops further as Saudi-Russia output deal talks delayed

Oil prices tumbled further on Monday, as prospective talks between Russia and Saudi Arabia on production were delayed until later this week, while markets remained sceptical about any agreement being reached.

The two countries have been pitched in an output war, leading to a massive glut in oil supplies and no consensus on production.

Saudi Arabia and Russia were due to meet on Monday to discuss the issue of oversupply, but this has been pushed back until 9 April, with fingers pointing at who was to blame for a breakdown in talks last month.

Read more here

Lebanon calls for financial aid amid virus outbreak

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun on Monday called on international donors to provide financial assistance to the crisis-hit country as it grapples with a severe economic downturn compounded by the coronavirus.

Speaking during a meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon, he specifically urged donors to unlock $11 billion in grants and loans, pledged during a Paris conference in April 2018.

The call comes as his government prepares to launch a long-awaited reform plan demanded by international partners. 

Read more here 

Egypt 'refuses' appeals to repatriate stranded citizens in blockaded Qatar

Cairo has reportedly blocked the repatriation of Egyptian citizens from Doha amid the global coronavirus epidemic, according to a Qatari official, Arabi21 reported.

Egyptian authorities rejected appeals by hundreds of nationals in Qatar to assist them in returning to their homeland amid the ongoing global health pandemic, the unnamed official said.

Qatar offered to fly the Egyptians - who launched a campaign across social media platforms in a bid to return home - back to Egypt, but Cairo authorities refused the assistance.

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Thousands of Afghans flee 'coronavirus epicentre' Iran, prompting fears of catastrophic outbreak

Nearly 150,000 Afghans fled Iran last month amid the coronavirus pandemic, threatening to trigger a catstrophic outbreak in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The Islamic Republic has emerged as the regional epicentre of the pandemic where more than 3,600 people have died from Covid-19, the highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

An influx of unchecked returnees from Iran to Afghanistan threatens to overwhelm the country's battered healthcare system, wracked by decades of war, the Associated Press reported.

Read more here

Turkey to ensure beloved street cats don't go hungry during coronavirus crisis

Turkey has urged local authorities to feed stray cats and dogs in order to keep concerned animal lovers off the streets during the coronavirus crisis.

The move comes amid widespread concern for strays, many of which are usually well-fed despite living on the streets.

While the government has not formally imposed a lockdown in Turkey, residents have been strongly encouraged to stay at home to reduce the spread of the virus. Citizens over-65 and under-20 have also been ordered to remain in their homes.

Read more here

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