Special programme: The impact of coronavirus on the Middle East

This week, we are offering a special edition of Middle East Matters, dedicated to the impact of COVID-19 on the region. We bring you reports from our correspondents in Israel and Turkey, and we hear from an NGO on the situation on the ground in Yemen.

Israel, which has reported more than 4,800 cases of coronavirus and at least 17 deaths, has taken a plethora of drastic measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. These include requiring a quarantine of 14 days for anyone entering the country, and even monitoring the mobile phones of people suspected of coronavirus. NGOs, for their part, have intensified to offer support to the most vulnerable communities. Our correspondents in Jerusalem Irris Makler, Cécile Galluccio and Antoine Mariottireport.

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We are also focusing on Yemen, which is preparing 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 are in urgent need of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. We are talking to Tamuna Sabadze, Yemen country director at the International Rescue Committee, who tells us that the country is now facing a “nightmare scenario”.

We finish in Turkey, which has recorded at least 10,800 COVID-19 infections and 168 deaths. People there use 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 care professionals warn that cologne does not offer complete protection against the coronavirus.