67,893 Covid-19 cases confirmed in Mena

05 April 2020
GCC governments clamp down on outdoor movement as case numbers mount

Social distancing regulations have been tightened across the GCC as the number of Covid-19 cases reached 67,893 in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region on 4 April 2020.

Iran has 55,743 positive cases of the illness caused by the new coronavirus, with 19,736 recoveries and 3,452 deaths.

Saudi Arabia, which has 2,370 cases of Covid-19, issued a 24-hour curfew on seven neighbourhoods within Jeddah over the weekend. 

On 3 April, King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud issued a royal decree ordering the allocation of SR9bn ($2.4bn) to compensate citizens working in facilities affected by repercussions of the pandemic.

The royal decree exempts Saudis working in the affected private sector facilities from Articles 8, 10 and 14 of the Unemployment Insurance (Sanad) scheme.

Case growth since 1 March, excluding Iran [source: MEED].

Similar government measures have been implemented in the UAE, with the Dubai emirate now in near-lockdown mode as all-day outdoor movement restrictions are imposed to curb Covid-19. 

On 4 April, Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management extended the federal sterilisation programme to 24 hours a day for two weeks, subject to renewal. 

Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority has also suspended Dubai Metro and Dubai Tram services.

Case growth since 1 March, including Iran [source: MEED].

Oman and Kuwait announced their first deaths due to Covid-19 over the weekend. 

The total number of Covid-19 related deaths in the Mena region now exceeds 3,860. 

Covid-19 in the Mena region:

(5 April 2020)

COUNTRYLATEST UPDATES

Saudi Arabia               

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 2,370
  • Recoveries: 420
  • Deaths: 29

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 4 April: Interior Ministry imposes 24-hour curfew on seven neighbourhoods in Jeddah governorate
  • 3 April: Curfew imposed in Dammam, Taif and Qatif until further notice
  • 1 April: Ministry of Health issues shopping guidelines

Measures to minimise the economic crisis:   

  • 4 April: King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology opens fast-track grant programme to develop coronavirus research
  • 4 April: Resident identity cards of expatriates in Saudi Arabia to be automatically extended for three months at no extra charge, the General Directorate of Passports says
  • 3 April: King Salman issues royal decree ordering the allocation of SAR9bn ($2.4bn) to compensate citizens working in facilities affected by repercussions of the pandemic. The royal decree exempts Saudis working in the affected private sector facilities from Articles 8, 10 and 14 of the Unemployment Insurance (Sanad) scheme.
  • 1 April: Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has allocated SAR17bn ($4.5bn) to deal with the economic and jobs fall-out from Covid-19, with measures including fee exemptions for expat workers whose residency permits (iqama) expire before 30 June, and disallowing forced unpaid leave without employees’ consent
  • 1 April: Ahmad bin Suleiman Al-Rajihi, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and chairman of the General Authority of Awqaf, inaugurates SAR500m community fund to contend with Covid-19’s effects, including SAR100m from the awqaf authority and SAR50m from the labour ministry
  • 1 April: Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) contributes SAR30m and the company’s contractors and suppliers and other partners add SAR24.65m to support the Health Endowment Fund
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
UAE

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,505
  • Recoveries: 125
  • Deaths: 10

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 4 April: Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development extends temporary closure of commercial centres, shopping malls, cinemas, electronic game halls (arcades) and other entertainment destinations in Abu Dhabi until further notice
  • 4 April: Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management extends national sterilisation programme to 24 hours a day for two weeks, subject to renewal
  • 4 April: Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority suspends Dubai Metro and Dubai Tram
  • 3 April: Ministries of health and interior extend national disinfection programme launched on 26 March, with each emirate to draw and implement its own plans for the sterilisation drive that restricted outdoor movement between 8pm and 6am
  • 2 April: UAE renews suspension of entry for all foreign nationals holding valid UAE residence visas
  • 1 April: Ministry of Interior suspends federal and local permits, and online vehicle applications, for outdoor movement during the daily disinfection programme

Measures to minimise the economic crisis:   

  • 4 April: RTA says public bus services will be free of charge for individuals permitted to leave their homes during the extended disinfection period, while Dubai Taxi vehicles and franchised taxis will offer a 50 per cent discount on normal fares
  • 4 April: Securities and Commodities Authority provides listed companies additional 45 days to file their financial statements for 2019 and Q1 2020
  • 3 April: General Civil Aviation Authority says repatriation flights to be temporarily permitted
  • 2 April: Sharjah Charity International provides financial and in-kind support worth AED7.5m to the families affected by Covid-19, of which AED2m was dedicated to the UAE’s anti-coronavirus fund
  • 2 April: Gulftainer launches service to prioritise delivery of medical supply consignments
  • 1 April: Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and Abu Dhabi Global Market pledge corporate support to ease economic impact of Covid-19, and Abu Dhabi Health Services dedicates Al Ain Hospital to treat Covid-19 patients
  • 1 April: Dubai Economy launches daily price tracker for staple food and essentials to curb price manipulation 
  • 1 April: Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority and the Sharjah Private Education Authority order schools to issue fee refunds
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Bahrain

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 688
  • Recoveries: 423
  • Deaths: 4

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 2 April: Civil Service Bureau confirms rate of remote working employees at ministries, entities and government departments to be increased to 70 per cent from 5 April 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis:  

  • 2 April: Ministry of Industry and Commerce fixes face mask prices to curb gouging
  • 2 April: Labour Market Regulatory Authority terminates monthly work fees and fees for issuing and renewing work permits for three months from 1 April
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Kuwait

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 479
  • Recoveries: 93
  • Deaths: 1

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 3 April: Sanitisation drive intensifies in capital Kuwait City
  • 1 April: Cabinet closes car workshops and reduces worker numbers at consumer cooperative society outlets to curb Covid-19

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 4 April: Kuwait Banking Association chairman Adel Al-Majed says Central Bank of Kuwait’s 1 April stimulus package makes KWD5bn ($16.5bn) available for additional lending from local banks
  • 1 April: Kuwait announces new round of economic relief measures, including soft long-term loans from local banks and loan repayment delays for companies affected by the Covid-19 crisis. The cabinet has also directed government agencies to pay private sector companies as soon as possible, and waived selected payment obligations for private firms.
  • 1 April: Kuwaiti Amir donates KD5m to recently launched Covid-19 fund on behalf of the al-Sabah family
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Oman

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 298
  • Recoveries: 61
  • Deaths: 2

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 2 April: Dhofar Municipality starts sterilisation campaign
  • 1 April: Muttrah locked out to curb spread of coronavirus
  • 1 April: Muscat Municipality waives parking fees to encourage people to stay at home and uses drones to disinfect public facilities

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 3 April: Muscat operates cargo flights to India and China for food and medical supplies respectively
  • 30 March: Ministry of Finance issues new circular to all government companies on rationalisation of operational and investment spending. The Royal Order stipulates that all government companies cut their approved expenditures for 2020 by 10 per cent, and cease the execution of new projects or capital expenditures for the year. Government entities have also been told to cease spending on all external training sessions, workshops and conferences and exhibitions, and to reduce the funds allocated for official tasks by not less than 50 per cent.
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Qatar

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,325
  • Recoveries: 109
  • Deaths: 3

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 21 March: Public parks and beaches closed to curb spread of Covid-19
  • 18 March: Incoming passenger flights to Doha suspended for non-Qataris for renewable two weeks

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 1 April: Hamad International airport reduces number of onsite food and beverage, retail and ground staff by 40 per cent, with most working remotely or sent on annual leave
  • 30 March: Qatari Health Ministry orders private health care institutions to halt non-emergency services, including dentistry, dermatology, cosmetic surgery and operations except for critical cases
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Iran

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 55,743
  • Recoveries: 19,736
  • Deaths: 3,452

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 4 April: Deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi says the greater Tehran area may face a coronavirus resurgence after many residents flouted advisories to stay home
  • 30 March: Health ministry spokesperson Kianush Jahanpur says Iran considering tougher curbs on movement to reduce spread of coronavirus
  • 29 March: Iran extends prison furloughs until 19 April as coronavirus death toll rise

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 31 March: UN calls to lift sanctions on Iran during coronavirus crisis as Europe sends medical goods to Tehran
  • 28 March: Rouhani says Iran to allocate 20 per cent of its annual state budget to fighting the Covid-19 outbreak and orders state health insurance to cover 90 per cent of coronavirus-linked costs of patients. The IRR1tn budgetary allocation includes grants and low-interest loans.
  • 26 March: Rouhani says government seeking approval to withdraw $1bn from Iran’s sovereign wealth fund to contend with Covid-19
  • 14 March: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urges unnamed global leaders to help lift US sanctions
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Egypt

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,070
  • Recoveries: 241
  • Deaths: 71

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 4 April: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi postpones moving civil servants to a planned new administrative capital city to 2021 from 2020, and delays projects including the Grand Egyptian Museum and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation to next year
  • 1 April: Seven buildings with about 150 employees quarantined and sterilised in Port Said after new cases emerge
  • 30 March: Egyptian Armed Forces sterilise the commercial areas of Old Cairo and Downtown, and tourism ministry resumes extensive sterilisation works
  • 29 March: Hospitals shut for sterilisation and villages quarantined to curb spread of Covid-19

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 1 April: Cairo orders manufacturers to channel medical protective equipment to public hospitals and announces £E1bn ($64m) in extra funding for its health services
  • 31 March: Egypt reportedly excludes soap bars, shampoo, tissue papers and some crops and legumes from resolution banning export of essentials such as face masks
  • 1 April: Investments in health sector planned to grow by 69 per cent to £E15.3bn in 2020-21, el-Saeed says according to Egypt Today
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Iraq

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 878
  • Recoveries: 259
  • Deaths: 56

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 26 March: Iraq extends nationwide curfew until 11 April

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 31 March: Prime Minister Ayad Allawi thanks China for building lab and donating equipment to test for Covid-19
  • 28 March: Arshad al-Salhi, head of the Iraqi parliamentary Human Rights Committee, says government must draft plan to distribute foodstuff and avoid a famine in the country
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Jordan

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 323
  • Recoveries: 74
  • Deaths: 5

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 3 April: One-day curfew imposed in sweeping measures to curb Covid-19, confining 10 million residents to their homes
  • 31 March: All-day lockdown involving the closure of previously exempted commercial stores and establishments and a ban on people’s movement across the kingdom will begin on the night of 1 April, Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said according to Jordan Times
  • 30 March: Health ministry announces new safe shopping measures, with Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army and Public Security Directorate urge banks to practice social distancing

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 29 March: PM Omar Razzaz and his government team reportedly donate salaries for this month to Jordan’s general budget to support the state treasury, especially the health ministry
  • 15 March: Central Bank of Jordan cuts compulsory reserves for commercial banks to 5 per cent from 7 per cent, adding more than JD500m ($705m) of extra liquidity in the market
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Lebanon

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 520
  • Recoveries: 54
  • Deaths: 17

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 31 March: Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad says system established to allow overseas Lebanese to return home even as country remains in lockdown until 12 April
  • 30 March: Saudi newspaper Arab News reports Lebanese lockdown may be extended by another fortnight to prevent Covid-19’s spread

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 3 April: Central bank says it is launching a foreign exchange unit to centralise the price of dollars for money-changers and separately confirms deposits of $3,000 or less can be withdrawn in Lebanese pounds at a “market” rate, allowing small depositors to cash out despite tight banking controls
  • 30 March: Fady Gemayel, head of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, says cleaning supplies, disinfectants and food provided to 30 prisons in the country
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Morocco

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 919
  • Recoveries: 66
  • Deaths: 59

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 19 March: State of medical emergency declared for 20 March to 20 April, with banks, fuel stations and other critical businesses exempted from the lockdown 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 29 March: Bank al-Maghrib to allow banks to resort to all available refinancing means in Moroccan dirhams or hard currencies, extends refinancing deadlines and enhances SME programme by merging operational and investment loans to support local business community
  • 27 March: MD1bn allocated for special fund that also includes private donations to contend with Covid-19 and cover stipends worth MD800-1,200 for every head of household working in the informal sector whose activity was impacted by the lockdown to contain the virus
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Libya

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 18
  • Recoveries: 0
  • Deaths: 1

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19: 

  • 30 March: At least 466 prisoners reportedly freed to curb the spread of Covid-19

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 14 March: Al-Sarraj government in Tripoli declares state of medical emergency and allots LYD500m for anti-coronavirus measures
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Tunisia

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 553
  • Recoveries: 5
  • Deaths: 18

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 4 April: Tunisia’s parliament cedes some powers to the government for two months to help it handle the coronavirus crisis and the expected economic fallout, with Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh’s government to be allowed to issue decrees, strike purchasing agreements and seek finance without consulting parliament, Reuters reports
  • 31 March: Tunisia extends lockdown by two weeks to 19 April as 1,420 prisoners released to curb Covid-19
  • 29 March: Interior ministry reportedly using unmanned robots to curb spread of Covid-19 and enforce curfew restrictions

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

 

  • 2 April: Tunisia may impose exceptional taxes on companies if the government does not find the funds needed during the coronavirus crisis, Fakhfakh reportedly said
  • 1 April: Tunisian banks will suspend the distribution of 2019 dividends and allow customers to defer loan payments for three months as part of a package to ease the social and economic effects of the coronavirus, the central bank said
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Algeria

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,251
  • Recoveries: 90
  • Deaths: 130

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

 

  • 4 April: Algeria will extend curfews it has put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus from 5 April. The curfew will last from 3pm until 7am in the capital Algiers and eight other provinces, and from 7pm until 7am in most other provinces.
  • 1 April: School and university closures extended

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 4 April: Algiers says all health products, medical equipment and staple foods will be taken from ports on arrival, and customs formalities will take place “at a later time”
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Yemen

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 0
  • Recoveries: 0
  • Deaths: 0

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 1 April: More than 470 inmates freed to contain coronavirus, UAE newspaper the National reports

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 4 April: Yemen to receive $26.9m from the World Bank to battle pandemic
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Syria

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 16
  • Recoveries: 2
  • Deaths: 2

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 2 April: Syrian authorities seal major shrine that Iranian pilgrims are known to visit
  • 29 March: Ban on commuting between provinces and all other urban and rural areas takes effect

Financial measures to minimise the economic crisis:

  • 27 March: UAE offers to support Syria amid Covid-19 outbreak. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces tells Syrian President Bashar Al Assad that Syria “will not be left alone during these delicate and critical circumstances”.
As of 11.30 GST, 5 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.

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