A spike in COVID-19 cases, worsened by the poor vaccine availability and Delta variant spread, has affected multiple Middle Eastern countries. As of mid-July, these latest records could have profound consequences.
Based on reports, Indonesia accounts for 1 in every 10 infections recorded globally every day. Making it the leading region in newly reported cases on a daily average. In Iran, recent infections rose up over 11,000 during the last 3 weeks. That’s 45% of its previous peak.
Despite the decline in the number of infections for 8 weeks in some countries, WHO stated there was a surge in cases in Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, and Iran. Most of these drastic increases are estimated to occur in Morocco and Lebanon.
COVID Impact in the Middle East
According to experts, the Middle East navigated the outbreak much better than initially believed. Despite the rising and flattening cases, the infection didn’t collapse their medical systems. Their governments endured, and the economy remained in a suitable but damaged shape.
This is to be expected, given the sheer impact of the pandemic. But, under all that façade, there is a clear disparity between the regions that have done right to curb the pandemic. And those who managed to make substantial but bad decisions.
At the moment, there is a great divide between poor and rich regions. Qatar makes for a perfect example. Here, there is a sharp divide between the haves and have-nots. While the region boasts the bigger per capita income on the globe, it is easy to forget that 85% of its residents are migrant laborers.
They live in shabby conditions, leaving them ripe for infections. The pandemic wreaked havoc in poorer areas. It paved the way for significant political, economic, and social complications for many years to come.
Some countries, like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have been at the forefront, taking countless protective measures to curb the infections. Regions like Turkey and Iran conducted partial, inadequate, and slow choices. This resulted in them becoming the epicenter for the infection.
Meanwhile, countries ravaged by war, like Yemen and Libya, can’t take the necessary steps to fend off the virus. Making the people highly susceptible to further infection and life-threatening situations.
Vaccines in the Middle East
Vaccinations became the regional power play in Middle Eastern nations. Countries like UAE, Morocco, and Egypt started creating their own vaccines. This means that immunization has taken a regional dimension.
Around 82% of the UAE population is vaccinated, 36% Turkey, 30% Saudi Arabia, and 3% Algeria. Tunisia, which is struggling with countless infections, is currently receiving medical help.
The cooperation between Egypt’s Vacsera and China’s Sinovac can create 80 million shots. This can aid 40% of the population by the end of the year. As of right now, more vaccines are necessary to aid the African continent, experts explain.
July data shows that less than 2% of the 1.3 billion population received a jab. The Middle Eastern countries can help these undersupplied nations. Whether that will have an impact on territorial disputes, only time will tell. While regional rivalries and the need to establish influence remain.
Nevertheless, the Middle Eastern regions have remained accustomed to receiving support from wealthier neighbors. But, the pandemic has brought forth a plethora of complications, which means that some countries are on the brink of tectonic shifts.