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Iran Press TV

Charity forecasts one billion coronavirus cases, warns rapid outbreak in refugee camps

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 28 April 2020 11:40 PM

A prominent charity organization says up to one billion people across the world could be infected with the new coronavirus and warned of a rapid outbreak in crowded refugee camps in Syria, Greece and Bangladesh.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a report on Tuesday that in a worst case scenario there could be between 500 million and one billion coronavirus infections around the world, with 1.7 million deaths.

The US-based charity organization said financial and humanitarian aid were needed to help slow the global spread of the virus, stressing that crowded refugee camps in Syria, Greece and Bangladesh represent some of the most densely-populated areas in the world and are among the most threatened places.

The IRC singled out Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq as "fragile" countries most at risk, saying these countries lack the financial resources to fund stay-at-home campaigns as well as the infrastructure and jobs that would allow people to work in isolation from home.

"These numbers should serve as a wake-up call: the full, devastating and disproportionate weight of this pandemic has yet to be felt in the world's most fragile and war-torn countries," David Miliband, president and CEO of the IRC, said in a statement.

"We are still in the critical window of time to mount a robust preventative response to the early stages of COVID-19 in many of these countries and prevent a further perpetuation of this epidemic globally," he added.

The IRC further said that trading barriers had slowed the delivery of protective equipment, halted vaccination and disrupted supplies for malnourished children in the fragile countries .

The novel coronavirus, which causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December and gradually spread throughout the world.

There have been more than three million confirmed cases of coronavirus across the globe with more than 200,000 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US.

The contagion curve on Monday appeared to have flattened in Europe, as the continent's worst-hit nations – Italy, Spain, France, and Britain – eventually reported drops in their daily tallies.

That has allowed the governments to prepare for a staged end to weeks off coronavirus lockdowns.

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