COVID-19 MENA Update
24.06.2020 - 22:00 CET
Despite the negative impact of pandemic on Life, Health and Economy, many people sees as great opportunity that has helped to minimize the disruption to businesses artificially created by governmental departments with strict control Social Media, VOIP communication and technology in general . It also opened new opportunities for some to shift the delivery of their services to online platforms. The pandemic has brought telehealth services in the Middle East to stage.
Noticeably this week across all Middle East countries, the rapid changes with actions to ease the lock-down and open countries. Countries have taken easy measures to sustain business and bring life back to new norm. While this crisis has generated a lot of challenges, it has also created opportunities across all industries - been forced to innovate and digitally transform.
United Arab Emirates
Dubai announced citizens and residents would be allowed to travel abroad from Tuesday the 23rd June.
Also it was announced, allowing tourists back starting 7th July. Travelers must comply with preventive measures and safety procedures put in place. Tourists are required to present recent Covid-19 negative certificate done 96 hours before travelling to Dubai & undergo screening at Dubai airports; those testing positive to observe a 14-day isolation.
Visitors are also required to have international health insurance and to download a special phone application that lists their details, as well as fill a special health declaration form.
This week Saudi Arabia made decision on Hajj for 2020 . They announced only those living in the country can take part in this year’s hajj pilgrimage. The number will be in the thousands, maybe 1,000 or less.
Over 65 old will not be permitted. All pilgrims and those serving them, will be quarantined after the Hajj ends .
Qatar Airways became local air corridor and becoming the world’s solution for repatriation connecting countries.
Seemingly unstoppable increase in cases every day but at acceptable level, this has forced the government to take harsher measures to bring life back to norm in a way. This week it was decided to prolong business hours and reduce curfew time and open mosques and churches organized services for worshipers; restaurants opened their doors for dine-in, delivery, and wholesale; and, malls and the construction sector.
Queen Alia International Airport, is currently closed to tourists and will remain closed until July 1. Yet touristic establishments opened their doors for local travelers and was reported that season might be compensated and reasonable loses.
Today, Wednesday the 24th June, Oman reopened malls & businesses. More than 50 commercial and industrial activities were also included with Social distancing of at least two metres must be maintained.
Strict control on labor camps & construction which were the hotspot for the spread in the country.
Kuwaiti health authorities allowed workforces to increase capacity up to 50% and visits to social care homes would be allowed, as well as the reopening of hotels, resorts and hotel apartments. Taxis will be allowed to operate with only one passenger, and mosques would be allowed to perform Friday prayers.
Bahrain advised Visa on arrival has been suspended but this does not apply to passengers with a diplomatic or official passport holders. Transiting passengers are not allowed to enter Bahrain. Meanwhile all passengers arriving to Bahrain will undergo testing procedures as a preventative measure for coronavirus and will be subject to quarantine.
Border crossing on the causeway to Saudi Arabia remain closed.
Egypt announced curfew will be fully lifted starting from Saturday. They would reopen all its airports for scheduled international traffic and open up its main resorts for foreign tourists on 1st July.
Restaurants and cafes will operate at 25% capacity and shut at 10 p.m. from Saturday the 26th June, while mosques and churches will be open for daily praying but not for end-of-week prayers or services which sees larger crowds.
Cinemas and theatres will also reopen at 25% capacity.
Public beaches and parks will remain shut and public transport will be suspended from midnight until 4am
Most tourist hotels have their own private beaches and pools and will maintain operations according to hotel safety guidelines.
Article by: Jamil Juma, Regional Manager MENA & CIS firstname.lastname@example.org
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