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To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of increased numbers of covid-19 cases in (a) Iran, (b) Saudi Arabia, (c) Turkey and (d) Israel on the (i) health and (ii) humanitarian situation in fragile states that border those countries.
The Department for International Development is concerned by the continued high rates of COVID-19 cases in the Middle East region and is tracking the situation closely. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) data Iran and Turkey are the countries in the region with the highest infection and death rates. We are especially concerned by the situation in Yemen and Syria where the conflict in both countries, coupled with under-resourced health care facilities means the impacts are likely to be significant and the number of cases far higher than reported. This is why the UK has so far pledged £764 million of UK aid to end the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible. Countries in need in the Middle East including Yemen, Syria, Iran and the Occupied Palestinian Territories will benefit from this. This is in addition to other UK aid that has been flexed to support the response around the world, including the Middle East.