Special programme: The impact of coronavirus on the Middle East

The iconic Jerusalem landmark of Damascus Gate is disinfected amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The iconic Jerusalem landmark of Damascus Gate is disinfected amid the coronavirus pandemic. © FRANCE 24

This week, we're bringing you a special edition of Middle East Matters, focusing on the impact of Covid-19 on the region. We bring you reports from our correspondents in Israel and Turkey, and hear from an NGO about the situation on the ground in Yemen.


Israel, which has reported more than 4,800 coronavirus cases and at least 17 fatalities, has taken a plethora of draconian steps to tackle the spread of Covid-19. These include requiring a 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country, and even monitoring the mobile phones of people with suspected coronavirus. NGOs, for their part, have stepped up to offer support to the more vulnerable communities. Our Jerusalem correspondents Irris Makler, Cécile Galluccio and Antoine Mariotti report.

>> Israel's Netanyahu tests negative for coronavirus, remains in isolation

We also focus on Yemen, which is bracing for the coronavirus pandemic. After five years of war, the impoverished country is already facing one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. Some 16 million people there are in dire need of clean water, sanitation and hygiene. We speak to Tamuna Sabadze, Yemen Country Director at the International Rescue Committee, who tells us the country is now facing a "nightmare scenario".

We end in Turkey, which has counted at least 10,800 Covid-19 infections and 168 deaths. People there are using cologne, with its high alcohol content, to keep the virus at bay. As our correspondents Ludovic de Foucaud, Shona Bhattacharyya and Hussein Assad report, even the Turkish government recommends this method. But health professionals are warning that cologne does not offer full protection against the coronavirus.

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