Algeria amends curfew to curb Covid-19

01 September 2020
Nurseries and cultural activities allowed to reopen while movement restrictions are imposed in new provinces

The number of Covid-19 cases in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region crossed 1,585,587 on 1 September, according to Worldometers data collated by MEED.

Countries in the wider Mena region, excluding the GCC and Iran, make up 30.4 per cent of all confirmed infections.

The health situation remains sensitive in countries such as Algeria, which has renewed its lockdown measures even as parts of the country begin to reopen for economic activity.

Algeria's ban on cultural activities such as museums and libraries has been lifted, and the exceptional paid leave granted to women who are pregnant or raising children aged below 14 years has been rolled back as well.

Nurseries may reopen at 50 per cent capacity, and the national curfew has also been lifted in the Souk Ahras, Tissemsilt, Djelfa, Mascara, Oum el-Bouaghi, Batna, Biskra, Khenchela, M'sila, Chlef, Sidi Bel Abbes, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Ouargla, Bechar, Constantine, Sétif, Adrar, Laghouat and El-Oued provinces.

However, the curfew has been renewed in the Boumerdes, Bouira, Relizane, Médéa, Blida, Tipaza, Algiers, Oran, Annaba and Bejaia provinces from 1 September for a period of 30 days, and prohibits movement from 11pm to 6am.

This curfew has also been imposed on the Tebessa, Illizi, El-Tarf, Ain Defla, Tlemcen, Tizi-Ouzou, Tindouf and Jijel provinces, where the epidemiological situation has worsened.

Public and private transport remains barred during the weekends in these provinces. Family gatherings and weddings are also banned.

Iran comprises 23.7 per cent of all Mena infections, and as the regional epicentre of the new coronavirus, the Iranian economy has suffered in 2020.

Deputy Tourism Minister, Pouya Mahmoudian, said yesterday that the Covid-19 outbreak had caused losses of around $452m in Iran's handicrafts and related industries.

The closure of handicrafts and exhibition areas, combined with the ban on tourists through much of this year, has led to a significant business downturn in the sector. Handicrafts are also a vital component of Iran's rural economies.

To date, Iran has confirmed 375,212 cases of Covid-19, with 323,233 recoveries and 21,571 deaths.

Covid-19 in the Mena region:

(1 September 2020)

COUNTRYLATEST UPDATES

Saudi Arabia               

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 315,772
  • Recoveries: 290,796
  • Deaths: 3,897

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 22 August: Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development defines health precautions for public sector employees to return to office work from 30 August. Remote working may be approved for employees if the number working outside the office does not exceed 25 per cent of the total workforce. 
  • 3 August: Pilgrims returning from Hajj must quarantine for 14 days and will be monitored using electronic bands to ensure compliance. 

 Measures to minimise the economic crisis:   

  • 24 August: Saudi General Directorate of Passports opens four land border crossings into the kingdom for families. Citizens, their non-Saudi families (spouses and children), plus drivers and domestic help are allowed in through the Al-Khafji, Al-Rakii, the King Fahd Causeway bridge and Al-Bathaa entry points. Non-Saudi companions must show negative PCR test results taken within 48 hours of travel. All travellers are required to isolate upon arrival.
  • 18 August: Saudi Food & Drug Authority to host emergency meeting of food regulatory authorities as part of the international conferences to be held during the kingdom's presidency of the G20. The meeting aims to develop ways to drive global cooperation in the field of food legislation to ensure food safety during Covid-19, and address the challenges that countries face in tackling the coronavirus. The meeting will be attended by officials from food safety authorities in several countries, along with the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Food Safety Authorities Network.
  • 15 August: Saudi Arabian schools to resume with distance learning for the first seven weeks, following which the situation will be reviewed. The new academic year is due to begin on 30 August. Exceptions will be made for university and technical school students with practical curriculums who are required to attend courses in person.
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
UAE

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 70,231
  • Recoveries: 60,931
  • Deaths: 384

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 25 August: Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee and Department of Health approve two tests to enter the emirate. The new measures will become effective 27 August, and will allow entry into Abu Dhabi within 48 hours from receiving a negative PCR test result or a negative DPI laser test result, provided it is supplemented with a negative PCR test result received within 6 days prior to entry. The same type of test cannot be taken twice in a row within 6 days.
  • 19 August: G42 Healthcare, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi-based Group 42, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel's Nanoscent to develop Scent Check, which can detect suspected Covid-19 cases from a sample of exhaled nasal air. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis:   

  • 31 August: Emirates and Fly Dubai revive codesharing partnership to offer flights to 100 destinations. Covid-19 tests are mandatory for all passengers, and those boarding Emirates flights will be provided hygiene kits for travel.
  • 31 August: Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee for the Covid-19 Pandemic and capital city's Department of Economic Development meet 3,400 private sector companies to discuss business operations and obligations towards expatriate employees. Measures agreed to by the committee include covering the costs of screening for workers and all those living in workers’ complexes and industrial cities; providing free medical treatment to all infected cases; coordinating with entities to facilitate and accelerate all legal procedures related to workers’ rights; and negotiating with third parties to cover any overdue payments for companies, enabling them to pay their workers’ wages.
  • 28 August: Mothers with children in grade six and below or those with children of determination are permitted to work remotely from home so that they can monitor and take care of their kids during the e-learning classes, the Federal Authority for Government and Human Resources says. 
  • 27 August: Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, issued directives for the implementation of a work from home policy in Dubai government entities for female employees with children undertaking distance learning. Separately, the Ministry of Education and National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority have allowed nurseries and childcare centres to reopen in accordance with special requirements and all precautionary and preventive measures.
  • 26 August: Emirates International Accreditation Centre grants Swiss diagnostic services provider Unilabs Laboratories the ISO-15189 accreditation for Covid-19 PCR testing in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It makes the Swiss company the first private health institution in the UAE to receive the accreditation. 
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Bahrain

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 51,972
  • Recoveries: 49,047
  • Deaths: 190

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 31 August: Sixth edition of biennial Bahrain International Air Show, scheduled to be held on 18-20 November, is cancelled. Next iteration of event to be held in 2022. Aviation industry announcements worth about $93.4m were announced during the air show in 2018.
  • 26 August: Friday prayers remain suspended at most mosques under Ministry of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments' plan to gradually reopen mosques in the country. Fajr (dawn) prayers will be allowed daily from 28 August, following the reopening announcement by the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs. Friday prayers will be permitted with a limited number of worshippers at Ahmed al-Fateh Mosques. Safety regulations for Fajr prayers include leaving two metres of safe distance between each worshipper, opening and closing mosques 10 minutes before and after the prayers, requesting people to perform prayers in the mosques closest to their homes and mandating face masks. Temperature checks will also be conducted and Wudu (ablution) must be performed before going to the mosque.
  • 23 August: Health Ministry says 2,300 random tests are being conducted every day in different parts of the kingdom to identify and curb new Covid-19 cases.
  • 19 August: More than one million PCR tests have been conducted to date, Minister of Health Faeqa bint Saeed Alsaleh says. National Medical Task Force for combatting the Coronavirus (Covid-19) lifts compulsory 10-day quarantine requirement for incoming passengers that are negative for the illness following their test in Bahrain, effective 20 August. However, PCR testing for all arrivals at Bahrain International airport will continue, with travellers to pay for two tests – one upon arrival and another one 10 days after their arrival – at a total cost of BD60. They must also download and activate the BeAware Bahrain smartphone app. 
  • 17 August: Cabinet approves proposal to relocate Covid-19 quarantine and isolation centres away from residential neighbourhoods. Also approved were proposals to ensure unemployed and retired nurses, doctors and paramedics are prepared to work as volunteers if required, and to provide additional personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees at the Ministry of Health's medical centres. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis:  

  • 26 August: Director of Land Ports of the Customs Affairs, Mohammed Hassan al-Isa, says Bahraini trucks will be allowed to transit to other countries via the King Fahd Causeway in Saudi Arabia.
  • 17 August: Administrative and teaching staff at Bahraini schools will resume work on 6 September and students will return on 16 September. Parents will have the option to choose between in-person or online learning.
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Kuwait

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 85,109
  • Recoveries: 77,224
  • Deaths: 531

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 23 August: Arrivals from Afghanistan temporarily banned. Passengers arriving at Kuwait International airport must present PCR test results valid for 96 hours instead of 72 hours. 
  • 10 August: Kuwait Municipality says 10 stores were closed in Hawally for violating Covid-19 precautions last month, while 23 fines and 2,405 warnings were issued to stores flouting safety measures.
  • 3 August: Kuwait Municipality closes 46 shops over Eid al-Adha holidays for breaching precautionary health guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
  • 1 August: Commercial flights to 31 countries deemed high-risk banned until further notice. The countries include India, Pakistan, Egypt, the Philippines, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, China, Iran, Brazil, Mexico, Italy and Iraq. Egypt Air is also halting flights to the country.
  • 26 July: Free Covid-19 tests to be offered at government hospitals for citizens and expatriates. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 31 August: Cabinet discusses draft law encouraging local banks to offer finance to clients impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. Newly restructured board of Kuwait Airways, chaired by Ali al-Dukhan, holds meeting to discuss future plans in light of the pandemic's impact on air travel.
  • 26 August: Ministry of Interior to extend expired residency and visit visas for an additional three months from 1 September for individuals inside Kuwait. The extensions come as travel restrictions continue to be imposed in several parts of the world.
  • 25 August: Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Saud al-Harbi approves remote learning for educational facilities during the coming semester. The decision applies to all public and private schools, and is subject to revision in November.
  • 24 August: Government team led by Sheikh Mishaal Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah mandated to scrutinise the impacts of Covid-19 on the state's financial revenues as part of wider effort to rectify economic imbalances. 
  • 18 August: Phase 4 economic activities reopen, including beauty salons, tailoring shops, gyms and restaurants. Gyms must ensure they sanitise equipment frequently, and all citizens and expatriates must adhere to mask usage requirements while outdoors. Partial curfew from 9pm-3am remains in place, state news agency Kuna says.
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Oman

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 85,722
  • Recoveries: 80,810
  • Deaths: 685

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 16 August: Phase 2 of the national investigative survey on Covid-19 in the sultanate begins. The 10-week study will be conducted in four stages, each lasting five days, with intervals of two weeks between the sessions. 
  • 12 August: Oman Society for Petroleum Services signs memorandum of understanding with Tabreed Oman to fund Covid-19 tests. 
  • 5 August: Lockdown to end on 8 August as scheduled. Night-time movement ban from 9pm-5am confirmed for 8-15 August. Dhofar governorate to remain in lockdown until further notice.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 25 August: Supreme committee for Covid-19 announces reopening of barbershops and salons after more than five months of closures. Muscat Municipality says some salon services will continue to be suspended, however, as will parties and social gatherings, local newspaper Times of Oman reports. Restaurants, gyms and conference rooms inside hotels are also allowed to reopen under the sixth phase of Oman's economic resumption programme. People below the age of 12 and over the age of 60 are not allowed inside certain premises, and wearing masks is mandatory. Two metres of safe distance must be maintained, restaurants must use disposable cutlery and electronic payments are being encouraged.
  • 13 August: Supreme committee for Covid-19 announces new academic year from 1 November for students, with teaching staff to begin work from 27 September. A system of "merged education" will be endorsed for all schools, which means students will attend some classes at their respective schools, while other lessons will be taught online in accordance with basic terms and regulations to be issued by the Ministry of Education.
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Qatar

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 118,778
  • Recoveries: 115,667
  • Deaths: 197

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 26 August: Teaching and administrative staff will be tested for Covid-19 prior to the beginning of the new academic year. E-schooling will be adopted for the 2020/21 academic year, which starts on 1 September, with the education ministry specifying system requirements for students' devices. 
  • 19 August: Ministry of Education and Higher Education changes three-phase plan to resume 2020/21 academic year. The new plan will apply blended learning during the first semester of the next academic year based on feedback from the Ministry of Public Health. The move aims to mitigate the academic impact of school closures and delayed academic year resumption on students. Schools may fill up to 30 per cent of their capacity and must observe social distancing. University students will attend classes at 30 per cent capacity daily between September to November. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 31 August: Qatar Rail says Doha Metro to resume services from 1 September at 30 per cent capacity under phase 4 economic resumption plan. Travellers are required to show their health status on the government's Ehteraz app, and access will be denied for those whose body temperature is under 37.8°C. Masks are mandatory, and children under the age of 12 years cannot travel unaccompanied as yet. Ministry of Commerce and Industry issues guidelines for cleaning and hospitality industry staff, mandating the use of masks and gloves while they are working.
  • 30 August: Spa activities, massage services and indoor swimming pools to resume from 15 September with reduced capacity, Ministry of Commerce and Industry says. Occupancy rate of men's hairdressing salons and women's beauty centres raised to 50 per cent of normal capacity, and spa activities, massage services, jacuzzi, Moroccan and Turkish bath services, and indoor swimming pools with 30 per cent of normal capacity in hotels.
  • 26 August: Supreme Committee for Crisis Management splits Phase 4 of economic resumption into two parts, the first of which will begin on 1 September and the latter to begin in the third week of September. Under the first schedule of Phase 4, mosques will reopen with toilets and ablution areas to remain closed, workplaces in the public and private sectors will allow 80 per cent of staff in offices, weddings with 40 indoor and 80 outdoor guests will be permitted and cinemas will reopen at 15 per cent capacity for those aged over 18. Public transport and personal boat rentals will resume at 30 per cent capacity, and sports may resume with 20 per cent of indoor or 30 per cent of outdoor capacity. Malls will reopen at 50 per cent capacity and food courts at 30 per cent capacity, with children allowed too enter. Souks and wholesale markets may operate at 75 per cent and 50 per cent capacity, respectively.
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Iran

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 375,212
  • Recoveries: 323,233
  • Deaths: 21,571

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 22 August: President Hassan Rouhani warns of third wave of Covid-19 if health precautions are not abided by.
  • 18 August: National Library & Archives of Iran in Tehran closed until further notice to curb the spread of Covid-19. The library had reopened in June after it was first closed in February. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 31 August: Tour guide card validity extended until 20 March 2021 to reduce in-person visits for renewals and boost the local tourism sector.
  • 30 August: President Hassan Rouhani calls to ramp up availability and wellbeing of healthcare professionals: "Considering the spread of the second wave of the outbreak of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health should take the necessary measures to prevent burnout and exhaustion of the country's medical staff and, if necessary, take necessary measures to train new staff and replace them more quickly."
  • 27 August: Rouhani says the government is working on an economic roadmap for the country, adding: "The government's goal is to implement the economic roadmap to repair the damages caused by the unprecedented sanctions and the outbreak of coronavirus."
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Egypt

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 98,939
  • Recoveries: 72,929
  • Deaths: 5,421

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 31 August: Civil aviation authority says passengers arriving at Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Marsa Alam and Taba airports can go through Covid-19 PCR tests for $30 at the airports. The decision comes as Egypt begins to enforce a rule requiring negative Covid-19 results, received 72 hours or less prior to arrival, from 1 September. Heritage and tourism sites in the Luxor and Aswan governorates are also due to reopen for international visitors on 1 September.
  • 26 August: Health Minister Hala Zayed warns of second wave of Covid-19 due to lax behaviour of some citizens, such as failing to wear masks.
  • 23 August: Health Ministry creates different routes and areas within hospitals for Covid-19 patients. Health Minister Hala Zayed says the Arab country has passed its first wave of Covid-19. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 26 August: Cooperation agreement to be signed with Chinese company for Covid-19 vaccine in September. Egyptian Holding Company for Biopharmaceuticals and Vacsera will represent Egypt in the agreement.
  • 22 August: Tourism ministry says archaeological sites will reopen on 1 September. 
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Iraq

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 234,934
  • Recoveries: 176,602
  • Deaths: 7,042

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 16 August: Higher Committee for National Health & Safety amends the partial curfew to 10pm-5am daily and bans all travellers from entering Iraq for tourism.
  • 9 August: Deputy Minister of Health, Hazim al-Jumaili, says Iraq has yet to hit its peak of Covid-19 infections: "The daily coronavirus infections are still registering large numbers [and sometimes] exceeding 3,000, and this indicates that the citizens are not abiding by the instructions of the Health Ministry and the High Committee for Health & National Safety." Health restrictions to be observed during Muharram will be discussed at the end of this week. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 5 August: Al-Jumaili says return to normal life "is not on the table at the moment, but the Higher Committee for Health & National Safety, headed by Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi, will review the situation.
  • 16 July: Airports will be allowed to open on 23 July and malls are to reopen soon provided they adhere to social distancing guidelines and health precautions. Lockdown hours will be reduced and will be in effect from 9pm-5am, and the total curfew will be revised after the Eid al-Adha holiday. Al-Mundhiriyah, Safwan and Al-Shaib border crossings are to reopen for trade and commercial exchange, Iraq's Higher Committee for Health & Public Safety says. 
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Jordan

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 2,034
  • Recoveries: 1,508
  • Deaths: 15

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 31 August: Reopening of schools suspended in Al-Rabwa and Al-Ashrafiya neighbourhoods in Amman, and all classes in public, private and United Nations Relief and Works Agency schools will be conducted remotely. One hotel and 10 residential buildings were isolated in Amman during the day after new cases were discovered. 
  • 30 August: Thirteen buildings isolated in Amman after new Covid-19 cases were detected.
  • 29 August: Education Ministry issues guidelines for use of masks in schools, adding students that are unwell with flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to attend classes.
  • 27 August: Administrative governors instructed to detain for 14 days the organisers of events and social gatherings comprising more than 20 guests. Comprehensive curfew to be imposed in Amman and Zarqa from 11pm today until 11pm on Friday. E-permits will not allow movement within the governorates, with the exception of individuals in essential sectors. Culture Ministry suspends Jerash Festival ceremonies, and the possibility of holding union elections is being evaluated. 
  • 24 August: Sahab city isolated to curb Covid-19. Curfew hours inside the city will last from 8pm until 6am, while educational facilities, markets, parks and mosques will be closed. The King Abdullah Industrial City in Sahab will continue to operate. Outside Sahab, movement bans will be in force from 11pm to 6am and businesses will not be allowed to operate between 10pm and 6am. Total lockdowns will be imposed on Fridays in areas with outbreaks, UAE newspaper the National reports. Public hospitals across Jordan have suspended visiting hours as a precautionary measure.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 31 August: Prime Minister Omar Razzaz calls for institutionalised crisis management programmes to combat future natural disasters. Sahab lockdown to be lifted on 1 September.
  • 28 August: Vaccine trial centre linked to the UAE's programme with Sinopharm, also comprising Bahrain, opens in Amman. 
  • 25 August: Plans to reopen schools from 1 September are in place, with learning models to be deployed based on the severity of Covid-19 cases in neighbourhoods where schools are located as well as whether the facilities can fulfill social distancing requirements.
  • 24 August: Health Minister Saad Jaber says Jordan has signed agreements with a group of British and US companies that have reached advanced stages in the production of a Covid-19 vaccine, and is working to obtain information about the Russian vaccine announced by President Vladimir Putin on 11 August. Labour Minister Nidal Bataineh says all private sector employees must download and activate the Aman contact tracing app. Ramtha lockdown is lifted. 
  • 23 August: Tourism minister discusses increasing number of hotel rooms for expatriates to quarantine in. 
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Lebanon

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 17,308
  • Recoveries: 4,811
  • Deaths: 167

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 26 August: General mobilisation extended until 31 December to curb Covid-19. Caretaker PM Hassan Diab says the public mobilisation drive is necessary "to protect people from a dangerous and frightening situation with its consequences".
  • 18 August: New lockdown and overnight curfew to be imposed for two weeks from 21 August. The curfew will last from 6pm-6am, and malls will be closed. Restaurants will be restricted to delivery services, and social gatherings will be banned. Beirut airport will operate normally and ministries will be staffed at half capacity. Areas where recovery work is under way following the Port of Beirut blasts are exempted from new restrictions. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 26 August: President Michel Aoun says reopening restaurants is vital for tourism and services revenues, but public health priorities will dictate when the sector may reopen. Aoun's statement comes after AFP reported Lebanese restaurant owners stating they would reopen their facilities in defiance of lockdown measures implemented since last week.
  • 19 August: UK sends 238,530 pieces of personal protective equipment to help "overstretched hospitals" in Beirut deal with Covid-19 patients, state news agency NNA reports. The World Health Organisation will distribute the face masks, overalls, gloves, goggles and gowns to hospitals across the city. 
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Morocco

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 62,590
  • Recoveries: 47,595
  • Deaths: 1,141

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 26 August: Beaches in Fahs-Anjra province closed to curb Covid-19. Baccalaureate exams will be held with adequate safety measures, with remote education being considered for the academic year's resumption.
  • 20 August: Morocco could return to a complete coronavirus lockdown as cases continue to spike, King Mohammed VI says. An emergency decree giving authorities leeway in restoring restrictive measures has been extended until 10 September.
  • 19 August: Cafés and restaurants in the El-Youssoufia province must close at 9pm, while commercial premises and local retail spaces must shut at 10pm and 3pm respectively. Public gardens, hammams, sports fields and gyms have been closed until further notice. All measures are effective for a week and may be renewed.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 31 August: Minister of Economy, Finance and Administrative Reform, Mohamed Benchaaboun, says first tranche of European Investment Bank's MD2.2bn ($240m) funding for Morocco has been paid out. The first tranche is worth about MD1bn and will support the Moroccan National Response Plan against Covid-19. 
  • 31 August: Standardised exams for first baccalaureate year scheduled for 1-3 October, subject to improvement of epidemiological situation in Morocco. Revision and remedial sessions will begin this month, and courses under the second bac year are due to commence on 5 October. 
  • 28 August: Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research urges administrative and health readiness ahead of new academic year, due to begin on 7 September for all grades, public and private schools and foreign missions in Morocco.
  • 19 August: National Fund for Social Welfare Organisations (CNOPS) says it will reimburse the costs of medical services linked to Covid-19 for its insured members. 
  • 17 August: Morocco will participate in clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, Health Minister Khalid Air Taleb says. European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) to provide MD430m loan to Spanish Caixa Bank's Moroccan branch to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and fund the bank's expansion outside the Casablanca-Rabat axis. 
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Libya

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 13,966
  • Recoveries: 1,459
  • Deaths: 237

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19: 

  • 26 August: Four-day curfew, starting at 6pm, imposed from 26 August. This will be followed by a 10-day 9pm-6am curfew, with Fridays and Saturdays set for 24-hour curfews. Social events are banned and public transport and market services remain suspended. Public work capacity limited to 30 per cent after the total curfew ends, local media reports. 
  • 11 August: Government of National Accord's (GNA) education minister-designate, Mihammed Emmari, says plan to resume schools and universities will be announced shortly. Previous plans to resume school activity on 8 August were cancelled based on medical advice, and online learning was expected to continue until secondary school exams ended in October.
  • 10 August: Mayor of Abu Salim Municipality and chairman of the Emergency Crisis Committee, Abd Arahman al-Hamdi, forms subsidiary committee comprising seven members to coordinate emergency plans and responses as local epidemiological situation worsens. Head of Libyan National Centre for Disease Control, Badr al-Deen Najjar, says case numbers are rapidly growing in Tripoli, Misrata and the southern region of the country. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 30 August: Land, sea and air borders reopen in Eastern Libya, based on advice from the Anti-Coronavirus Advisory Committee. A monthly list will be prepared to classify countries into 'red' and 'green' categories based on which epidemiological precautions will be exercised. Negative Covid-19 test results, acquired less than 48 hours prior to arrival, are required for entry, Libya Herald reports. 
  • 26 August: Primary schools said to reopen on 12 September, while secondary classes will resume from 29 August. Final exams for secondary school students have been planned for 3-15 October.
  • 13 August: Tripoli is reportedly ready to reopen its borders with Tunisia if adequate precautionary measures are implemented. National Centre for Disease Control in Libya recommends the provision of PCR tests at Tunisian borders. 
  • 10 August: Government of National Accord's (GNA) health ministry receives shipment of 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits from Belgium. 
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Tunisia

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 3,803
  • Recoveries: 1,573
  • Deaths: 77

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 31 August: Six private-sector laboratories in Greater Tunis given permission to conduct PCR tests, with the government setting the price for each test at TD209. 
  • 27 August: Curfew imposed in Kef governorate. Education, health and other social ministries agree on anti-coronavirus protocol ahead of the 2020/21 academic year's commencement. The health protocol provides for monitoring and quarantine for suspected cases as well as disinfection of spaces, mainly sanitary facilities, once to twice a day. Awareness campaigns targeting pupils and students are scheduled, in addition to sessions for psychological assistance.
  • 26 August: Curfew in El-Hamma and Gaves governorate extended until 3 September, and face masks mandated across the country, with violators of mask usage to be fined TD1,000-5,000. 
  • 24 August: Tunisian Navigation Company says passengers from Tunis to the port of Marseille must present a negative PCR test carried out 72 hours before departure.
  • 21 August: One-week curfew imposed in El-Hamma.
  • 17 August: Mobile military lab starts operating at Gabes, with interim Health Minister Mohamed Habib Kechaou urging locals to comply with precuationary measures to control the number of Covid-19 cases in El-Hamma, a town within the Gabes governorate. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 29 August: BFPME CEO Labid Zaafrane says high cost of debt will not help SME entrepreneurs to develop and expand their companies.
  • 21 August: Small cabinet meeting recommends providing hospitals with additional sanitisers and masks to contend with Covid-19. 
  • 19 August: Houssine Bouzaiene hospital in Gafsa receives laboratory to detect Covid-19. Ben Alaya says asymptomatic Covid-19 cases will be allowed to self-isolate if their homes meet health requirements. 
  • 18 August: New school year to begin on 15 September. Health protocols for schools and universities will be completed soon. 
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Algeria

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 44,494
  • Recoveries: 31,244
  • Deaths: 1,510

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 31 August: Curfew renewed in the Boumerdes, Bouira, Relizane, Médéa, Blida, Tipaza, Algiers, Oran, Annaba and Bejaia provinces. The curfew takes effect from 1 September for a period of 30 days, and prohibits movement from 11pm to 6am. This curfew has also been imposed on the Tebessa, Illizi, El Tarf, Ain Defla, Tlemcen, Tizi-Ouzou, Tindouf and Jijel provinces, where the epidemiological situation has worsened. Public and private transport remains barred during the weekends in these provinces. Family gatherings and weddings remain banned.
  • 8 August: New curfew hours to be in place until 31 August, government says. The decision covers the Boumerdes, Souk Ahras, Tissemsilt, Djelfa, Mascara, Oum el-Bouaghi, Batna, Bouira, Relizane, Biskra, Khenchela, M’sila, Chlef, Sidi Bel Abbes, Medea, Blida, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Tipaza, Ouargla, Bechar, Algiers, Constantine, Oran, Setif, Annaba, Bejaia, Adrar, Laghouat and El-Oued provinces.
  • 7 August: Curfew hours reduced to 11pm-6am, with the ban on road traffic for passenger vehicles from and to 29 provinces impacted by the curfew also lifted.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 31 August: Ban on cultural activities such as museums and libraries lifted as part of plans to partially lift the national curfew. Nurseries may reopen at 50 per cent capacity, but ACs are prohibited. Curfew lifted in the Souk Ahras, Tissemsilt, Djelfa, Mascara, Oum el-Bouaghi, Batna, Biskra, Khenchela, M'sila, Chlef, Sidi Bel Abbes, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Ouargla, Bechar, Constantine, Sétif, Adrar, Laghouat and El-Oued provinces. Sports ministry authorities mull gradual resumption of activities, and exceptional paid leave granted to women that are pregnant or raising children aged below 14 years is lifted. 
  • 27 August: Government endorses draft executive decree allowing the maintenance of interest rate subsidies on loans granted by banks and financial institutions in favour of companies and individuals in difficulty because of the coronavirus pandemic. Minister of Finance also informs government of a draft presidential decree setting out the specific measures to adapt public procurement procedures to contend with the pandemic's impact. 
  • 18 August: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announces plan to revive the national economy and diversify away from oil and gas revenues. Key initiatives include reducing imports and stopping the import of fuel from 2021. Around $14bn will be allocated to finance investment projects in the months ahead, and Tebboune is also encouraging the formation of private banks and transport companies in the country.
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Yemen

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,958
  • Recoveries: 1,131
  • Deaths: 566

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 4 May: Public areas including government buildings, markets and mosques to be sprayed with disinfectant as local authorities move to curb Covid-19.
  • 11 April: Authorities in the southeast Yemen province of Hadramout move to curb Covid-19 in the port city of Al-Sheher by imposing further measures, where the country’s first case was announced on 10 April. A curfew from 6pm–6am has been imposed in all cities of the province, and Hadramout governor Faraj Salmen al-Bahsani has urged residents to comply with the measures and stay indoors as much as possible.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 2 June: International donors pledge $1.35bn in aid for Yemen. Saudi Arabia's contribution totals $500m, with the UK offering $200m and Germany contributing $140m.
  • 18 May: Yemen’s Health Minister, Nasser Ba’aom, and Minister of Local Administration, Abdul Raqib Fatah, appeal for international aid. “We need personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies, ventilators, finance for the medical workers who work in the Covid-19 centres,” Dr Ba’aom said, according to UAE newspaper the National. “We also need medical equipment such as a complete biological units, testing kits, field hospitals and beds for the intensive care units. Additionally, we still need food aid, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene.”
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.
Syria

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 2,765
  • Recoveries: 629
  • Deaths: 112

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 16 August: Ministry of Interior said to issue new regulations for travellers to and from Lebanon. Those entering Syria from Lebanon must present Covid-19 negative test results taken 96 hours prior to their arrival. The decision applies to truck drivers, diplomatic passport holders and aid workers, among other groups. Lebanon-bound passengers from Syria must present test results taken 24 hours prior to their flight. 
  • 10 August: First case of Covid-19 among residents of Al-Hol camp causes concern among relief workers. As many as 43,000 children will be impacted by an outbreak in the camp, Save the Children warns.
  • 5 August: Only critical staff, with personal protective equipment (PPE), are allowed to operate inside Al-Hol internally displaced people's camp in Al-Hasakah governorate as cases mount in the country, including in the healthcare sector. 
  • 23 July: Local authorities in northeast Syria reinstate partial curfew, including the banning of all mass gatherings such as weddings and funerals, with restaurants limited to take-away service only. Borders are to close from 24 July. 
  • 7 May: Syria postpones parliamentary elections for second time from 20 May-19 July as preventive measure to curb 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:

  • 24 June: Syrian health ministry receives new batch of medical aid from China, including testing kits, protective suits, face masks, goggles and infrared thermometers.
  • 25 May: Damascus eases lockdown restrictions to support economic growth, but repatriation flights put on hold as recently returned Syrians are treated.
  • 3 May: President Bashar Al Assad says Syria could face a "real catastrophe" if Covid-19 cases grow.
As of 10.30 GST, 1 September 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during August 2020.

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