ORIENT III 2020: Public Health and the Near and Middle East

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Dear ORIENT readers,

The countries of the Near and Middle East have – like the rest of the world at the time of writing – been affected by the novel coronavirus and the disease that it causes: COVID-19. But how exactly have the states approached the pandemic and fared vis-á-vis the virus? In order to analyse these developments, this issue combines not only case studies but aims to also closely look at broader, more structural questions directly related to the handling of the pandemic across the region. Securitisation, healthcare policies and research capacities are some of the issues discussed.

In this issue of ORIENT we want to inform you about the pandemic in the region in a contextualised way. First off, Larbi Sadiki and Layla Saleh will provide an overview on public health in the MENA region, analysing recent reforms and underlying structures. Subsequently, Adam Hoffman argues that many actors across the region have securitised the fight against the virus. Nassim El Achi then looks closely at the research infrastructure in the region – or the lack thereof – before Luigi Narbone presents an insightful case study into Iran’s handling of the crisis. Eleonora Ardemagni then looks at the developments in Yemen and Matthew Hedges at the GCC states’ approaches.

I hope that the current issue provides you with valuable perspectives on the current developments around COVID-19 in Near and Middle East.

We hope that you and your loved ones stay healthy.

Dr. Gunter Mulack
Director of the German Orient-Institute