The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from April 10

The Middle East at war with coronavirus: Top stories from April 10
Yemen reports its first case of coronavirus, Jordan imposes another full curfew and Iran announces a further 122 virus deaths in today's roundup.
3 min read
10 April, 2020
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 April 10:

1. Yemen reports first coronavirus case

War-torn Yemen reported its first case of coronavirus on Friday in a southern province under the control of the government, raising fears of an outbreak in a country with few resources left to respond.

The announcement comes on the second day of a unilateral two-week ceasefire announced by the Saudi-led coalition supporting the government in what it said was a move to help fight the pandemic.

Following years of war and Saudi-led military intervention, Yemen already faces what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

Aid groups have warned that when the coronavirus does hit the country's broken healthcare system, the impact is likely to be catastrophic. Read more here.

2. Jordan rolls out full curfew for 48-hours to curb coronavirus spread

The Jordanian government announced a 48-hour round-the-clock curfew starting from midnight on Thursday, to allow epidemiological teams to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The government first introduced a similar curfew on 14 March, before relaxing it by giving people limited hours to shop for basic goods on foot.

The country has so far reported 153 cases of covid-19 but no deaths. Read more here.

3. Global pact to contain oil price crash takes shape

The OPEC oil cartel and nations including Russia have agreed to boost oil prices by cutting as much as 10 million barrels a day in production, or a tenth of global supply. 

G20 energy ministers will hold a virtual meeting Friday after an oil production cut agreement hit an impasse, with Mexico rejecting the proposed curbs.

The standoff has cast doubt on efforts to bolster oil prices, pushed to near two-decade lows by the demand-sapping coronavirus pandemic and a Saudi-Russia price war.

The G20 talks, to be hosted by top exporter Saudi Arabia, are expected to seal the deal more widely with non-OPEC countries in the group including Mexico, the United States and Canada. Read more here.

4. In Jerusalem, Christians mark Good Friday in isolation

Christians are commemorating Jesus' crucifixion without the solemn church services or emotional processions of past years, marking Good Friday in a world locked down by the coronavirus pandemic.

The chanting of a small group of clerics inside Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher echoed faintly through the heavy wooden doors, as a few people stopped and kneeled outside to pray.

The centuries-old church, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the dead, is usually packed with pilgrims and tourists. Read more here.

5. Iran reports 122 virus deaths, raising total to 4,232

Iran on Friday announced another 122 deaths from the novel coronavirus, taking the overall toll in the Middle East's worst-hit country to 4,232.

The health ministry said 1,972 people tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in the past 24 hours, putting the total at 68,192.

"In the last 24 hours, we have unfortunately seen an increase in cases of disease in perhaps five to eight tourist provinces, including Tehran," spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a televised news conference.

The announcement comes a day before Iran is scheduled to reopen "low-risk" businesses in a move aimed at protecting its sanctions-hit economy. Read more here.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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