COVID-19 Update on Middle East After Holidays
28.05.2020 - 16:00 CET
Regionally no one yet knows the impact of the unfolding pandemic. What is certain is that it will have lasting health, social, economic, and political consequences.
The stakes are two-fold: minimising the blow of the crisis in the short term while setting the stage for lessons learnt and better governance policies in the future.
Regional gatherings and habits during Ramadan had a major impact on a number of cases in most of the countries. Most of the governments locked down cities during Eid holidays, however starting the 27th May, new laws were issued easing lock down to few hours and opening most of businesses.
United Arab Emirates
Dubai will allow free movement and business activity to restart during the day from Wednesday the 27th may. The new timing of the curfew will be from 11.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m. The UAE will continue its gradual return to normal life as more restrictions are eased in Dubai, allowing residents to return to the gym, cinemas and resume other activities.
Malls, restaurants and cafes have reopened, with restrictions on the number of people they can admit. Non-essential trips to the dentist are also among the services that will be allowed.
Mandatory use of masks when outside the home has not changed. Social-distancing guidelines, requiring people to keep a two-metre distance from others outside homes, must be followed at all times, and masks remain mandatory outdoors.
Children below 12, adults above 60, and people with chronic diseases or who are prone to infection are still not allowed to enter malls, cinemas or sports facilities.
Saudi Arabia has announced easing restrictions starting from next Sunday 31st May. Restrictions will be lifted in three phases, culminating in the curfew completely ending - with the exception of the holy city of Makkah - from June 21.
Mosques will reopen for group prayers except in Mecca, and lifting a ban on domestic flights and allowing employees to report back to government agencies and private businesses. Public sector workers will eventually resume work as normal as of June 14.
Social gatherings of more than 50 people will still be banned, including weddings and funerals.
Citizens will still be urged to wear masks in public and continue hygiene and social distancing measures after June 21.
The epidemiological situation is currently good, with few infections reported.
The public sector is back from Wednesday the 27th May with a commitment to safety regulations to keep. The private sector, and specifically the sectors that are allowed to work at full capacity, tomorrow will be an official working day.
As for the sectors that are not authorized to work until now, schools, nurseries, gyms, coffee shops, cinemas,… will remain as they are, pending what is decided later according to the developments of the epidemiological situation
The closure of Muscat still in force until May 29 with no further update on next step. Meanwhile, more deaths were reported among residents due to the delay in approaching health institutions and most of the deaths take place in the ICU as many of patients are late in seeking healthcare
Kuwait announced that it will replace the complete lockdown with a partial curfew as of May 31
Bahrain malls were re-opened as part of a phased approach, with citizens and residents able to take a voluntary Covid-19 test in many of the locations
The country’s 17 isolation hospitals reserved for coronavirus patients reached their maximum capacity at the start of the month. Critics say the numbers are low because random testing was being done.
Coronavirus has killed 19 doctors and infected more than 350, according to MOH. Current warning that the health system could completely collapse, leading to a catastrophe affecting the entire country if the health ministry’s negligence and lack of action. These included providing all doctors with personal protective equipment, training for dealing with coronavirus cases and testing for those with symptoms or who have come into contact with infected people