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COVID 19 Update on Middle East during Ramadan

Ramadan started on April 24, Friday and is expected to last for 29-30 days based on the lunar calendar.

As a rule, respective governments in Middle East and GCC announced for private & public sectors employees working hours reduced by two hours for the duration of Ramadan.

In implementation of guidelines in place to battle COVID-19, many employees are working from home. In UAE, offices and businesses have been asked to reduce staff at the offices to 30 per cent or less while the rest work from home. Government offices have also started strict work from home policies in line with COVID-19 efforts being taken in the country.


On 24 April, daytime movement restrictions in UAE were relaxed to remove the requirement for a permit between 6am  – 10pm Limited exercise outside of the home is permitted during these times.

Dubai shopping malls, markets and commercial outlets are opened now between 12 pm – 10 pm for restricted hours, social distancing and other measures will apply.

Per sterilization program, anyone leaving home must wear a mask and gloves and ensure they keep a safe distance from others.

Many transportation options throughout the UAE are subject to closure or sterilization, though some are re-opening after sterilization. Dubai’s metro, public buses, and taxi services also resumed operations starting Sunday April 26. Local municipalities issued a resolution prohibiting the transport of labour workers between different Emirates.

Emirates Airlines has extended flights to Frankfurt airport until May 13 and London Heathrow until May 14.

Saudi Arabia

The government instructed private sector establishments to suspend work at their main office / headquarter and instead activate work from home.  Companies are also required to reduce the number of employees working in their branches, offices and other facilities to a maximum of 40% of the headquarter.  This has been extended till the 16th May.

The Saudi Government has suspended operations in many government agencies.  Travel between the provinces of Saudi Arabia is prohibited.

All international passenger traffic, whether by air, land, or sea, has been suspended. All tourist travel is currently suspended.

The causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and land borders between Saudi Arabia and all neighbouring countries are restricted to commercial traffic only.


The general curfew prohibits the movement of people and closes most shops from 6 pm to 6 am and 48 hours on weekends. Government is relaxing controls starting 1st day of Ramadan allowing people to move withing their local area/ province. The situation was effectively managed but now big concerns & threat of losing control.

Some airlines have been selling tickets for regular commercial flights to and from Amman starting April 28.  However, the Government of Jordan has now extended the suspension of regular commercial flights through May 11, so it is likely that all flights through May 11 will be cancelled.


The Government instituted checkpoints to prevent movements between cities.

Oman civil aviation announced an indefinite suspension of commercial flights into and out of the country.

Oman Police announced that residents of Oman whose visas will expire can renew their visas online. This includes residents currently in Oman and those stuck outside of Oman due to the travel restrictions.


This week it was announced an extension of shutdown till Thursday, May 28. Starting May 12, Gulf Air will operate flights from Kuwait to London Heathrow via Bahrain.  Qatar Airways is currently operating outbound flights from Kuwait to Doha.


Increased social distancing measures came into effect on April 23. It is now mandatory to wear face masks in public, with fines of 5 Bahraini Dinars for failure to do so.

Bahrain has implemented several measures at the airport to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including

All visas upon arrival have been suspended. Anyone attempting to enter Bahrain must have a Bahrain residence permit or secure a visa in advance. All arriving passengers will be tested for COVID-19. All arriving passengers will be quarantined for 14 days, regardless of the outcome of the COVID-19 test.


The Egyptian response to the coronavirus is evolving, local measures have changed and new restrictions were introduced at short notice and without warning. There are currently restrictions in place including an overnight curfew.

Positive cases are relatively low considering the size of the country’s population, but the growing number of infections and the fragile healthcare system, are of serious concern for the government as reported.


Article by: Jamil Juma, Regional Manager MENA & CIS

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