Palestinian construction workers build a field hospital, Monday, March 23, to quarantine coronavirus patients in the war-torn Gaza Strip, where two cases have been reported.

READ MORE: The International Monetary Fund is urging governments in the Middle East to take immediate action to blunt a likely economic setback that could arise from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Jihad Azour, the IMF’s regional director for the Middle East and Central Asia, said in a report Tuesday that the pandemic “has become the largest near-term challenge to the region.”

Azour said the rapid spread of COVID-19, coupled with the lowering of crude oil prices due to the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, will deal a severe blow to economic activity in the region, especially in the tourism and hospitality fields, bringing with it rising joblessness and falling wages.


Advertisement Free Shipping on The North Face, UGG, Patagonia, Merrell, Five Fingers, and Garmin!

More videos