COVID-19 in the MENA Region: Facts and Findings
Keywords:MENA, coronavirus, COVID-19, incidence
Introduction: Our study aims to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It aims also to examine the various factors that have led to the unequal distribution of the confirmed cases among the different MENA countries.
Methodology: Data was retrieved from the World Health Organization situation reports issued between January 29 and June 5, 2020. It included the numbers of cumulative cases, new cases, and cumulative deaths reported by MENA countries. Similarly, we searched for relevant articles in PubMed and Medline.
Results: A total of 481,347 cases and 11,851 deaths occurred in the MENA region, accounting for 7.37% and 3.06% of the global cases and deaths respectively. Iran had the highest number of cases and deaths accounting for 34.1% and 68.1% of the MENA cases and deaths respectively. Together the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries accounted for 52.2% and 10.6% of MENA cases and deaths respectively. Egypt had the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths among the African countries of the region. Syria, Libya and Yemen (countries at war) had the lowest numbers of reported cases. The MENA region overall case fatality rate (CFR) was estimated at 2.46%. The highest CFR (22.75%) occurred in Yemen, and the lowest (0.07%) in Qatar.
Conclusions: The unequal distribution of wealth among the MENA countries, the lack of sociopolitical stability, and the high number of undetected and underreported cases in some of them have resulted in varied incidences of COVID-19 related morbidity and mortality.
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