Iran eyes remdesivir production as Covid-19 cases rise

16 July 2020
Health minister says domestic production of anti-viral drug to begin next week as Tehran museums close again

The number of Covid-19 cases in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region crossed 1,032,927 on 16 July, according to Worldometers data collated by MEED.

The GCC region accounts for 53.6 per cent of all regional infections, with the six Gulf countries reporting a total of 553,989 cases to date.

Of these, Saudi Arabia has the highest number of confirmations, with 240,474 cases, 183,048 recoveries and 2,325 deaths.

Cases are also growing in Oman, where the total number of confirmed infections reached 61,247 on 16 July, from 50,207 as of 9 July.

Oman has reported 39,038 recoveries to date, in addition to 281 deaths due to Covid-19.

The sultanate had recorded 32,005 recoveries and 233 deaths on 9 July.

Iran makes up 25.6 per cent of all confirmed Covid-19 infections in Mena.

The regional epicentre of Covid-19 has, to date, reported 264,561 cases of the coronavirus-caused illness, with 227,561 recoveries and 13,410 deaths.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki said on 15 July that domestic production of the anti-viral agent remdesivir would begin in Iran from next week.

On the same day, museums in Tehran closed again for one week as virus numbers rise amid fears of a second wave of the coronavirus in Iran.

Covid-19 in the Mena region:

(16 July 2020)

COUNTRYLATEST UPDATES

Saudi Arabia               

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 240,474
  • Recoveries: 183,048
  • Deaths: 2,325

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 13 July: Individuals entering Mina, Muzdalifah or Arafat without a permit between 19 July and 2 August, including during Hajj, will be fined SR10,000, with the amount to double if the violation is repeated. 
  • 10 July: Riyadh Airports Company launches artificial intelligence- and machine learning-powered project to ensure social distancing is followed at the King Khalid International airport.
  • 6 July: Saudi Arabia issues guidelines for Hajj 2020, including the prohibition of all entry into Mina, Muzdalifa and Arafat without permits from 19 July. Touching the Holy Kaaba and Black Stone will be prohibited as well, and the mosque’s carpets are to be removed to allow pilgrims to use their personal prayer rugs instead. Registrations have also been opened for expat residents in the kingdom to register as pilgrims, the majority of which (70 per cent) will be non-Saudis this year.
  • 30 June: Ministry of Health calls for caution amid suggestions that Covid-19 pandemic might be reversing during the hot summer weather, urging residents to abide by precautionary measures to curb the spread.
  • 27 June: Health ministry issues precautions to allow the gradual return of workers to offices.

 Measures to minimise the economic crisis:   

  • 14 July: Corporate Sustainability Programme launched by the Ministry of Finance to support the deferment of loan installments for the private sector. The initiative includes deferring loan installments due in 2020 for the health and educational sectors. Worth SR670m, this deferment covers more than 192 establishments across sectors such as education, health and industry. The initiative also aims to support projects in the education, health and real estate development sectors by accelerating approvals and disbursement of loans and easing requirements.
  • 10 July: Saudi Arabia hosts G20 talks with Paris Forum to discuss post-pandemic global economy.
  • 5 July: Interior ministry confirms three-month extension of exit and return visas issued to foreign residents who were either unable to leave the kingdom or to return from abroad because of the closure of borders, and residence permits of expats outside the country whose validity expired during the lockdown. Final exit visas of foreign residents and the visit visas of foreigners who were unable to leave the kingdom before they expired will also be extended.
  • 2 July: Royal decree issued to extend government initiatives supporting businesses, employees and investors and the private sector. Measures include postponing VAT payments and accelerating reimbursements, and partial exemption from expired residency and iqama fees for an additional month. 
  • 28 June: Saudi-US scientific research team comprising Saudivax and the US's Abound Bio enters licensing agreement to develop Covid-19 treatment, Arab News reports.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
UAE

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 55,848
  • Recoveries: 46,418
  • Deaths: 335

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 8 July: Ministry of Interior says it has trained sniffer dogs to detect Covid-19, with trials recording a detection accuracy rate of about 92 per cent.
  • 6 July: Government confirms plans to conduct more than two million tests in the next two months. 
  • 28 June: UAE suspends all flights arriving from Pakistan, one of Asia's worst-hit countries for Covid-19. 
  • 27 June: UAE authorities urge public against recklessness in terms of following precautionary measures. 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis:   

  • 14 July: Department of Health – Abu Dhabi meets delegation from Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and Group 42 (G42) to discuss future plans as part of the first of three stages of clinical trials to find a potential vaccine for Covid-19.
  • 13 July: Third stage study of a possible vaccine against Covid-19 approved by the Ethics Committee Scientific research in Abu Dhabi. UAE Covid-19 data platform, created by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority and the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, is launched. Dubai Chamber launches online marketplace for PPE products. 
  • 12 July: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development suspends debt service repayments during 2020 for eligible countries and businesses. Three startups win contest to join Tecom Group accelerator In5 for a limited period to address the impact of Covid-19 on the region and beyond.
  • 11 July: Dubai approves AED1.5bn ($408.4m) in financial support for hospitality, construction and education sectors, bringing total value of relief package since the onset of Covid-19 to about AED6.3bn.
  • 10 July: UAE updates visa rules, with residents given three-month grace period to update residency and visa documents. One-month grace period provided for renewal of visas from the date of arrival to the UAE for GCC passport holders and UAE residents who have spent less than six months out of the country.
  • 6 July: Business tenants of Dubai Developments Group properties in the emirate, including small firms and entrepreneurs, will be exempted from paying rents for periods ranging between three to six months following directives issued by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
  • 5 July: UAE government restructured to be more agile in post-pandemic economy. The Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology will be created as part of the UAE government, and the existing ministries for energy and infrastructure will be merged. Three senior ministerial appointments will be made at the Ministry of Economy, and Omar al-Olama, currently the UAE’s minister of state for artificial intelligence, will take on the newly created post of minister of state for digital economy, artificial intelligence and applications for teleworking.
  • 4 July: Abu Dhabi residents allowed to take 48-hour trips outside the emirate. Motorists must get tested in the city before they leave and display these results upon their return. Commuters travelling into Abu Dhabi from other emirates must still be tested before they arrive at the border.
  • 3 July: UAE citizens and residents are now able to travel. Travel will only be permitted if the individual receives a negative Covid-19 result and has international health insurance that is valid throughout the period of travel, and covers the destination they are travelling to.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Bahrain

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 34,560
  • Recoveries: 30,320
  • Deaths: 117

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 13 July: Passengers coming to Bahrain must pay BD30 for a Covid-19 test at the Bahrain International airport as part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
  • 5 July: Abdul Hakim Al-Shameri, a member of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce, calls for gradual reopening of King Fahd Causeway to ensure health precautions are followed. The bridge linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia is planned to open on 27 July.
  • 26 June: Legislators table bill proposing mandatory distance learning in the new school year due to Covid-19.
  • 22 June: Bahrain International airport adopts new security measures that include mandatory face masks and temperature scanning, social distancing measures and limited access to airport areas to ensure biosecurity protocols are being followed.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis:  

  • 15 July: Bahrain said to be considering blended learning, comprising in-class and online teaching options, as school resumption is targeted for September. Reopening of mosques is delayed until case numbers decline.
  • 14 July: King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa issues Decree-Law 22/2020 to inject BD177.3m into this year’s state budget to deal with emergency expenditures incurred amid Covid-19. Also approved was a memorandum recommending the temporary suspension of the deductions of oil revenues allocated to the Future Generations Reserve Fund until the end of the fiscal year 2020, the withdrawal of $450m as a one-time instance from the fund, and approving the issuance of a decree-law disposing part of the fund. The measures are intended to support the state’s general budget during the remainder of the fiscal year 2020. 
  • 12 July: China National Electric Engineering Corporation revealed to have donated Covid-19 equipment to Bahrain's Electricity & Water Authority and is willing to ramp up support.
  • 11 July: Social Insurance Organisation to pay, from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, a maximum of 50 per cent of the salaries of Bahrainis working in private sector companies most adversely affected by the pandemic, provided that the Bahraini employee is insured as at the end of June 2020, or is employed and insured through the National Employment Programme by the end of the month. Companies eligible for the benefits include its operations in a sector that felt business disruption and could not pay wages, retained its Bahraini employees during 2020 and expressed commitment to paying the remaining portion of the salaries of the Bahraini employees in full and without deduction, and on the date set for salary payments.
  • 6 July: Cabinet approves decision to reduce some fees imposed by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority on all types of work permits for one year, and all monthly fees related to them by 50 per cent for three months, starting from July. 
  • 29 June: Government to pay 50 per cent of salaries for private sector workers most impacted by Covid-19. Payments to start from July, with government also confirming extension of assistance to Bahraini citizens by paying their electricity and water bills.
  • 21 June: National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus is said to be in discussions with Bahrain's Interior Ministry, Bahrain Airport Company and Gulf Air to establish a Covid-19 protocol for Bahrain International airport in Manama. 
  • 15 June: Ministerial Committee for Financial & Economic Affairs & Fiscal Balance is to review studies and initiatives submitted by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Bahraini Businessmen's Association on the sectors that have been affected by Covid-19. The panel is also tasked by the cabinet with studying the impacts of the pandemic on the Bahraini economy, and is to submit its recommendations on the two matters. The cabinet also endorsed, based on a recommendation by the Government Executive Committee, a draft decree on including emergency expenses in the general state budget for 2020. Submitted by the Minister of Finance & National Economy, the bill aims to allocate a budget not exceeding BD177m to deal with the emergency expenses required for mitigating Covid-19's impact and curbing its spread.  
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Kuwait

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 56,877
  • Recoveries: 46,897
  • Deaths: 399

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 18 June: Public sector employees will not be allowed to return to work from offices following week due to growth in Covid-19 cases. 
  • 18 May: Kuwait makes wearing masks in public mandatory, with jail time threatened for violators.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 15 July: Kuwait University to begin new academic year online on 9 August. 
  • 13 July: Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Kuwait Municipality and Public authority for Food and Nutrition to prepare a comprehensive plan to avoid overcrowding during slaughtering and distributing sacrifices around Eid al-Adha. Kuwait Oil Company confirms budgetary cut of 25 per cent and operating expense reduction of 18 per cent for the 2020/21 fiscal year as part of measures to boost "state financial stability". The national oil company also confirmed projects had been cancelled as part of austerity measures. 
  • 8 July: Ministry of Finance approves disbursement of KD240.5m to 70,000 Kuwaitis following a request submitted by the Public Authority for Manpower.
  • 2 July: Kuwait International airport to reopen from 1 August, and will operate at 30 per cent capacity for six months, capping out at 10,000 passengers and 100 daily flights. The country plans to raise capacity to 60 per cent in February 2021 and full capacity in August 2021.
  • 25 June: Second of five-phase plan to restore normalcy by September to begin on 30 June and span three weeks. Curfew hours to be reduced to 8pm to 5am. Public and private sectors will resume work with less than 30 per cent capacity, in addition to the resumption of work in the financial and construction sectors, malls and retail shops, parks, and pick-ups from restaurants and cafés. Lockdown on Farwaniya, Jleeb al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula to continue until further notice.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Oman

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 61,247
  • Recoveries: 39,038
  • Deaths: 281

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 14 July: Supreme committee for Covid-19 decides to continue lockdowns in Dhofar and Masirah. 
  • 5 July: Ministry of Health to conduct country-wide Covid-19 survey covering locals and expats on 12 July. The survey will be carried out in four rounds over 10 five-day weeks, with testing to be conducted randomly. Survey results will be used to determine when movement restrictions can be eased and all activities can resume. Oman hopes the survey will also reveal antibodies that can reveal the prevalence of Covid-19 and its cumulative infection level in the country.
  • 21 June: Labour ministry may fine private sector facilities up to RO500 for violating public health procedures. 
  • 3 June: Tourism ministry issues guidelines for hotels, including instructions such as transparent face masks for receptionists, hand sanitisers for guests and keeping swimming pools and gyms closed until further notice.
  • 18 May: Supreme committee announces ban on all gatherings related to Eid, such as livestock auctions, prayers, greeting gatherings and group celebrations.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 13 July: Public Authority for Water (Diam) approves three-month package to provide financial relief for privately held SMEs in the healthcare, education, travel and tourism, banking and journalism sectors. 
  • 12 July: Public Establishment for Industrial Estate (Madayn) cancels select entry and storage fees at Mazyouna Free Zone. Atomzlab, based in Madayn's National Business Centre, increases production of 3D-printed anti-microbial masks.
  • 5 July: Health ministry urges tougher action businesses flouting precautionary requirements and will conduct spot checks to ensure compliance.
  • 2 July: Health minister Ahmed bin Mohammad al-Saeedi says 'scary' growth in Covid-19 cases has led the sultanate to create plans for raising healthcare capacity, with a temporary hospital for non-urgent cases expected to be established in Muscat.
  • 24 June: More than 50 commercial and industrial activities reopen, including real estate offices, travel agencies, maintenance businesses and dry cleaners.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Qatar

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 104,983
  • Recoveries: 101,637
  • Deaths: 151

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 15 July: Al-Sadd and Umm-Salal football clubs fined QR30,000 each for failing to meet precautionary all requirements for resumption of 2019/20 season.
  • 18 May: Qatar will close all shops and halt all commercial activities on 19-30 May to curb Covid-19. The closure excludes pharmacies, food supply stores and food deliveries, UAE daily newspaper Gulf News reports.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 1 July: Second phase of economic resumption begins. Commercial activities were allowed to resume in malls and commercial centers, while gaming centers, amusement parks, skateboard arenas, prayer rooms and cinemas will remain closed. Restaurants operating inside malls and commercial centers are allowed to deliver to home addresses, or hand over orders at the restaurant only. This decision also prohibits any artistic, cultural or recreational activities at malls and commercial centers.
  • 28 June: Supreme Committee for Crisis Management says restaurants, public beaches and parks to reopen at limited capacity from 1 July. Public and private gatherings of a maximum of five people will be allowed, and employees in the public and private sector can work from office at 50 per cent capacity.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Iran

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 264,561
  • Recoveries: 227,561
  • Deaths: 13,410

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 15 July: Museums in Tehran closed again for one week as virus numbers rise. Art and cultural centres, universities, schools, seminaries, English schools, libraries, movie theaters, museums, mosques, beauty salons and several other entities have been shut down as well amid sharp rise in number of new cases and fatalities.  
  • 4 July: Wearing masks is mandated. Iranians who do not wear masks will be denied state services and workplaces that fail to comply with health protocols will be shut for a week. Government employees that do not wear masks will be considered absentees. 
  • 28 June: Campaign launched to encourage Iranians, especially young individuals, to wear masks.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 15 July: Iran will start producing the antiviral agent remdesivir for the treatment of coronavirus patients next week, Health Minister Saeed Namaki says according to Iran Press news agency.
  • 11 July: President Hassan Rouhani warns Iran cannot afford to shut down all economic activities to curb the spread. "The simplest solution is to close down all activities, [but] the next day, people would come out to protest the [resulting] chaos, hunger, hardship and pressure," he added, according to Arab News.
  • 27 June: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says Iranian economy will worsen if Covid-19 spreads unchecked, and warns public against negligence to curb the spread.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Egypt

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 84,843
  • Recoveries: 26,135
  • Deaths: 4,067

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 3 June: Parliament warns against crowding in food markets. 
  • 1 June: Prisons sterilised and prisoners provided polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to curb Covid-19.
  • 31 May: Government to provide 30 million fabric face masks each month, Egypt Today reports.
  • 20 May: New cleaning campaigns launched in North Sinai cities.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 13 July: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi calls for completion of National Project for Self-Sufficiency of Plasma Derivatives, aimed at reducing the need for ventilators in Covid-19 patients and boosting recovery times. Health and Population Ministry warns disinfection gates may not be effective in workplaces, following similar advice from the World Health Organisation.
  • 1 July: Egypt starts to reopen as airport resumes activity and other public transport is allowed to resume. 
  • 25 June: Local manufacturer Eva Pharma starts producing antiviral remdesivir as potential Covid-19 treatment drug. The European Medicines Agency has received a recommendation from its human medicines committee urging conditional approval of remdesivir to treat adults and adolescents, who are also suffering from pneumonia. Eva Pharma is also producing one million tablets of Japan’s Favipiravir drug, said to accelerate recovery and sold under the brand name Avigan, and is set to make them available within July.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Iraq

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 83,867
  • Recoveries: 52,621
  • Deaths: 3,432

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 27 June: Growing case numbers lead to reimposition of curfew in areas including Basra province and Maysan in southern Iraq.
  • 22 June: Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi says country is nearing the peak of infections, adding ministry plans to develop temporary hospitals with a capacity of 400 beds in various provinces as soon as possible.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 13 July: Health ministry said to have provided 300 ventilators to medical institutions.
  • 7 July: Southern Shalamcheh border crossing with Iran partially reopened after three months of closure. The crossing is being opened only for the trade of foodstuffs, allowing in some 500 trucks from Iran per week and will open every Wednesday and Sunday, Arab News reports.
  • 28 June: Iraqi medical students called on to volunteer at hospitals amid surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths. 
  • 26 June: UAE send six tonnes of medical supplies to Iraqi Kurdistan to curb Covid-19. 
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Jordan

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,201
  • Recoveries: 1,016
  • Deaths: 10

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 29 June: Health minister says local transmission of the virus is reducing but warns of second wave if precautionary measures are not adhered to.  
  • 28 June: Repatriation operations for Jordanians overseas have been suspended until due to changes in quarantine and medical examination procedures, and the recent increase in the number of coronavirus cases. Pre-scheduled flights will not be affected by the decision.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 15 July: Schools to reopen on 1 September, with education ministry envisioning three options – regular clases, online learning or in-class learning in shifts – based on country's Covid-19 situation at the time. Airports in the country will remain closed until at least 1 August, and citizens will be allowed to be repatriated from 10 destinations without needing to quarantine upon arrival, Roya News reports. Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission's precuationary measures for when airports reopen include the division of countries into three colour-coded categories that will be reviewed periodically, and based on which pre-flight Covid-19 test requirements will be set out for travellers.
  • 13 July: JD27m to be distributed to families in need of relief due to the financial impact of Covid-19. It marks the third and final payment from the Himat Watan fund established in April to aid Jordanians and facilitate the return of citizens stranded abroad. Decision of lifting of midnight curfew has yet to be made, local Roya News reports.
  • 11 July: Government confirms plans to reopen schools from 10 August. State Minister for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh says 411 applications had been received from people wishing to visit Jordan for medical tourism from Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
  • 5 July: Prime Minister Omar Razzaz says Jordan will reopen its airports at the end of July and flights will resume to a limited number of countries.
  • 27 June: Amusement parks and play centres in tourist resorts, and special education centres, allowed to reopen from 28 June, provided precautionary measures are adhered to.
  • 21 June: Education ministry considers resuming the next academic year two weeks earlier than planned to make up for lost time.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Lebanon

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 2,542
  • Recoveries: 1,455
  • Deaths: 38

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 14 July: Fines ranging from £Leb550,000 to £Leb5m said to have been introduced for individuals not wearing masks.
  • 1 July: Cabinet extends Covid-19 measures until mid-August to curb Covid-19 cases.
  • 4 June: Government has extended its "general mobilisation against coronavirus" measures for another four weeks, Arab News reports. The extension is based on recommendations from Lebanon’s Higher Defense Council.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 24 June: Reopened Rafik Hariri International airport to reduce number of flights from countries where the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are not available to passengers to 20 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, Arab News reports. Flights from countries that have the test will be at 80 per cent of previous levels. Those arriving from countries with PCR tests must produce the results, which must be less than four days old, during check-in. All passengers must be tested at Beirut airport.
  • 21 June: US State Department to contribute $20m to support 1,800 students at the American University of Beirut and the Lebanese American University. 
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Morocco

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 16,262
  • Recoveries: 13,821
  • Deaths: 259

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 15 July: Interior ministry temporarily closes 514 factories and businesses across the country for non-compliance with precautionary measures as case clusters emerge in industrial areas.
  • 13 July: Tangier to be locked down and isolated, with all public transport to and from the city to be suspended. Citizens may travel within the city provided they have received authorisation from local entities. Tangier is said to account for 20 per cent of all Covid-19 cases in Morocco.
  • 9 July: Health emergency decree granting power to place parts of the country under lockdown as required extended until 10 August. 
  • 18 May: Lockdown extended to 10 June as case numbers continue to grow.
  • 19 April: Lockdown extended to 20 May.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 14 July: Government allocates MBD6bn ($623m) for flag carrier Royal Air Maroc.
  • 8 July: Air and sea borders to open for Moroccan citizens living abroad and foreign citizens living in Morocco on 14 July. Passengers will be required to present, before boarding, a PCR test conducted less than 48 hours before the trip, as well as a serological test. Ferry rides will also be scheduled departing from France and Italy, with similar pre-boarding requirements as air travel. 
  • 23 June: Flag carrier RAM to resume domestic flights on 25 June.
  • 21 June: Cafes, restaurants, sports clubs and services and entertainment businesses are allowed to reopen at 50 per cent capacity from 24 June in all provinces except Tangier, Larache, Marrakech and Kenitra. Domestic flights and rail lines to resume but international travel remains closed. 
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Libya

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,589
  • Recoveries: 373
  • Deaths: 43

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19: 

  • 7 July: Government extends curfew until 17 July. A 24-hour weekend curfew and the ban on inter-city movement continue to be enforced.
  • 9 June: The Chinese Embassy to Libya has sent a shipment of medical aid to help fight the pandemic.
  • 11 April: UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, says need for immediate end to hostilities in Libya discussed with Stephanie Turco Williams, the deputy head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
  • 30 March: At least 466 prisoners reportedly freed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 9 July: African Development Bank grants $480,000 to Libya under the Special Relief Fund for the procurement of personal protective equipment.
  • 8 July: National Oil Corporation (NOC) lifts force majeure at the Es Sider oil terminal. Export resumption was blocked after guards prevented a tanker from being loaded.
  • 10 April: Libya receives medical supplies from Turkey’s National Defense Ministry.
  • 5 April: State of emergency continues in Libya as former Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril reportedly dies from coronavirus.
  • 14 March: Al-Sarraj government in Tripoli declares state of medical emergency and earmarks LD500m ($357.6m) for anti-coronavirus measures.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Tunisia

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,319
  • Recoveries: 1,091
  • Deaths: 50

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 29 May: Tunisian President Kais Saied announces extension to the state of emergency in the country by six months starting from 30 May.
  • 19 April: Lockdown extended till 4 May.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 13 July: Tunisia is negotiating delaying its debt repayments with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France and Italy, and plans to arrange a new deal with the Washington-based IMF in four months. Deferral request comes as Tunisian economy braces for budget deficit to widen to 7 per cent of the GDP, Finance Minister Nizar Yaich says.
  • 27 June: Tunisia reopens land, sea and air borders for the first time in more than three months. Some operations restart at Tunis-Carthage airport, with flights to Rome, Geneva and Paris also scheduled to depart.
  • 23 June: Garment industry body Fédération tunisienne du textile et de l'habillement said to plan post-pandemic recovery plan. France to loan Tunisia $396m to deal with crisis caused by Covid-19.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Algeria

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 20,770
  • Recoveries: 14,792
  • Deaths: 1,040

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 9 July: Road movement ban implemented for one week from 10 July in provinces including Boumerdes, Souk Ahras, Tessimsilt, Djelfa, Mascara, Oum El Bouaghi, Batna, Bouira, Relizane, Biskra, Khenchela, Msila, Chlef, Sidi Belabbes, Medea, Blida, Bordj Bou-Arreridj, Tipaza, Ouargla, Bechar, Algiers, Constantine, Oran, Setif, Annaba, Bejaia, Adrar, Laghouat and El Oued. Public transport was also barred over the weekend.
  • 28 June: President Abdelmadjid Tebboune says Algeria to keep the land, air and sea borders closed until the end of the Covid-19 crisis. He added during the cabinet meeting that firmer measures would be taken against citizens that do not respect preventive measures.
  • 28 May: Lockdown extended from 30 May to 13 June to curb Covid-19.
  • 19 May: Algeria extends curfew for Eid al-Fitr holiday. Restrictions will be imposed from 1pm-7am in most provinces and 5pm-7am in other parts, Reuters Africa reports.

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 9 July: State's special insurance to be granted to medical professionals directly involved with Covid-19 treatment.
  • 6 July: Government does not plan to renew nationwide lockdown at the moment but could enforce region-specific closures if cases spike and precautionary measures are not complied with.
  • 22 June: Flag carrier Air Algerie starts revalidation of 600,000 tickets for domestic and international flights cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. 
  • 14 June: Further relaxation of restrictions planned. Government to lift curfew in 19 provinces and shorten it in the remaining 29, including in the capital Algiers, where it will run from 8pm–5am instead of 7pm–7am. Buses and taxis to resume with limitations on passenger numbers, and paid leave provided to 50 per cent of government employees to end.
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Yemen

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,526
  • Recoveries: 694
  • Deaths: 433

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 (ICUs). Additionally, we still need food aid, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene.”
As of 10.30 GST, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.
Syria

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 458
  • Recoveries: 140
  • Deaths: 22

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 7 May: Syria postpones parliamentary elections for second time from 20 May to 19 July as preventive measure to curb 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, 16 July 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during June 2020.

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