Special programme: Turkey becomes biggest Covid-19 hotspot in Middle East

This week, Middle East Matters takes you to Istanbul, where most of the coronavirus cases are found in Turkey. The country has now overtaken Iran with the highest number of patients in the region, but even after several weeks of the epidemic, the official number of deaths remains low. Our correspondents Shona Bhattacharyya and Ludovic De Foucaud met with the head of the Istanbul Medical Chamber to find out why.

We are also heading to Israel, where the ultra-Orthodox community is the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. Its members are also among the least likely to adhere to the strict social distancing measures introduced by the Israeli government. The Minister of Health is a member of the ultra-Orthodox community, and he himself has tested positive for the virus, report our correspondents Cécile Galluccio, Antoine Mariotti and Irris Makler.

Finally, the spread of the coronavirus is particularly worrying in Syria. After years of war, the country’s health infrastructure has been practically destroyed, and millions of people live in camps without access to water, soap or housing conditions that can enable them to practice social distancing . The Rojava Information Center told us about the conditions in the northeast of the country, where a Turkish military operation took place last October.