GZERO VIDEO: Matter of time before virus hits refugee populations in Middle East

NEW YORK (GZERO MEDIA) - Iran has become one of the top world's hotspots for coronavirus cases, reporting over 6,500 cases or about one in every 12,000 in its population, according to The Atlantic.

The first case appeared on Feb 19 but now Iran is third behind China (80,695) and South Korea (7,314), and just ahead of Italy (5,883).

But those who know Iran and the region believe the number of infections could well be higher.

One of them is Mr David Miliband, UK's former Foreign Minister, who is now President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.

Given the region's large refugee populations, numbers are more likely to spike in the Middle East, he tells GZERO.

They are more vulnerable to the virus due to their compromised capacity for effective public health, he says.

Speaking with well known international affairs commentator Ian Bremmer, Mr Miliband says that while the death rate globally has been kept down to 2 per cent among infected patients due to health interventions, this may change in the case of refugees as they lack key facilities needed to support them.

"... the treatment side is a massive challenge now because although... it (coronavirus) hasn't yet hit displaced populations, it must be a matter of time, given that the global estimates are 40 to 70 per cent of the population (being) hit," said Mr Miliband.

Watch the video to find out more.

This GZERO media video is being shown here as part of a media partnership agreement with The Straits Times.