Middle East Covid-19 numbers grow

25 March 2020
GCC governments enforce stay-at-home orders as Middle East infections increase

Middle East governments are enforcing stay-at-home orders for citizens and residents as the number of Covid-19 cases grows in the region. 

The UAE announced 45 new cases on 23 March, taking its total number of confirmed Covid-19 patients to 198. Of this number, 41 individuals have recovered from the illness. Dubai and Sharjah Police patrols were seen on 23 March asking people to stay at home and limit the spread of the pandemic.

The UAE is suspending all passenger flights for two weeks from 25 March as part of its Covid-19 containment measures.

Meanwhile, curfews have been implemented in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which have 562 and 189 cases respectively.

Saudi Arabia’s three-week curfew, imposed by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, started on 23 March and will last from 7pm to 6am every day.

Kuwait’s daily 11-hour curfew started on 22 March, and violators will be jailed for up to three years and fined KD10,000 ($32,000) in line with new laws created in the country.

Oman announced 11 new coronavirus cases on 23 March, taking its total number of cases to 66, while Bahrain has 183 positive cases of Covid-19.

Case numbers are also growing outside the GCC. Jordan reported 15 new coronavirus cases on 23 March, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 127.

In Egypt, where 39 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed on 23 March, army official Maj Gen Khaled Shaltut reportedly passed away after contracting the new coronavirus. 

Egypt has 366 cases of Covid-19 and 19 deaths, and in Lebanon, the total number of Covid-19 cases has reached 256. 

Syria announced its first Covid-19 case earlier this week, and Iraq’s outbreak has led to 266 cases. 

Iran, the epicentre of the virus in the Middle East, has 23,049 cases and at least 1,812 deaths. 

The country has faced criticism for not imposing stricter quarantine measures during the outbreak’s earlier stages to contain its spread.

The financial strain of the virus has also caused Iran to approach the IMF for a $5bn emergency loan for the first time since 1962. 

It is also suffering due to the sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump.

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