Iraq and Iran have recently been seeing a rising trend in poverty rates due to the destructive effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by an Ankara-based think-tank.
Poverty in Iraq, which had amounted to 20% in 2018, or nearly 10 million people, has risen to 31.7% following the COVID-19 outbreak, Serife Akinci, an expert on Middle East and African Economies Studies, said in the report published by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (ORSAM).
Iraq’s coronavirus count now stands at 12,086 deaths and 542,187 infections as well as 472,054 recoveries.
The poverty in Iran, the country with the highest number of coronavirus casualties in the Middle East, has turned into a structural problem in recent years.
Some 13% of the Iranian population has been living on less than $5.50 a day, said the report, citing data from the World Bank in 2017.
The underlying structural problems of the Iranian economy deepened with the resumption of US sanctions against the country in 2018 and the emergence of the first virus cases in the city of Qom in February this year.
Iran has reported a total of 894,385 cases and 46,207 deaths so far from the novel coronavirus.
All of Iran’s 31 provinces are currently designated as red zones with a high risk of virus transmission, according to the country's Health Ministry.
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