Over 1,600 infected with coronavirus across Middle East and North Africa

Locals wear face masks to take precautions from coronavirus, as they shop at the Bahrain's Autumn Fair 2020, in Manama, Bahrain January 29, 2020. (File photo: Reuters)

Coronavirus continues to spread across the Middle East and North Africa with over 1,600 infected across the region.

The coronavirus first started spreading from Wuhan, China, earlier this year and has since infected nearly 90,000 people, with over 3,000 dead. The Middle East has been hit particularly hard as cases started spreading across the region as travelers returned from Iran, the second deadliest epicenter for the disease after China, with 66 reported dead.

Here is a chart of the spread of the coronavirus in the Middle East and North Africa so far:

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How coronavirus spread from Iran
The first cases of coronavirus were recorded in UAE on January 29, 2019. However, the virus appeared to have been contained within the country, which only has 21 cases to date and no recorded deaths.

The virus instead spread across the region in late February, following an explosion of cases in Iran which then spread to nearby Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iraq.

Iran itself has struggled to contain the virus, with several officials from the regime falling ill. On Monday, an adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei died of coronavirus.

While no cases have yet been declared in Syria, officials have begun to prepare for the virus spreading to the war-torn country.

The spread of the virus across the region has hit the economy, with Gulf stocks falling on Sunday and the aviation industry forced to cancel flights.

Saudi Arabia announced it was temporarily suspending visas for Umrah pilgrims to Mecca to prevent the spread of the virus, although the Kingdom is yet to report a confirmed case.

source: Matthew Amlôt