Covid-19 cases near 98,500-mark in Mena

14 April 2020
Case numbers increase outside epicentre Iran as regional governments conduct more health tests

The number of Covid-19 cases in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region reached 98,492 as of 14 April, according to data collated by Worldometers.

The GCC has 16,074 confirmed cases of Covid-19, while countries in the wider Mena region, excluding Iran, have 9,115 cases.

With 73,303 confirmed Covid-19 cases, Iran is the regional epicentre of the new coronavirus and the country's case numbers have grown exponentially since 25 March, when it had about 24,811 cases. 

However, as the coronavirus has spread across the region, Iran’s share in the total number of Mena cases has reduced from 86 per cent on 25 March to 74 per cent as of 14 April.

Middle Eastern governments, led by the GCC, are conducting more intensive health screening operations to identify potential cases of the illness.

To date, Iran has recorded 45,983 recoveries and 4,585 deaths related to Covid-19.

‘Low-risk’ economic activity resumed in Iran on 11 April following orders by President Hassan Rouhani. The same low-risk sectors are expected to open in Tehran on 18 April. 

While health experts have warned that the easing of restrictions could cause a second wave of Covid-19 in the country, the Iranian government says it must resume activity to buoy its sanction-hit economy.

Last week, Iran urged the Washington-based IMF to urgently approve its $5bn loan appeal. Rouhani said “there should be no discrimination” in approving these requests on behalf of IMF member states.

Covid-19 has led to numerous stimulus packages being launched by Middle Eastern governments over the past month.

In Saudi Arabia, the energy sector has contributed about SAR500m and Saudi banks have contributed almost SAR160m to the health ministry’s relief fund amid Covid-19.

The UAE central bank’s measures to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19 were valued at AED256bn ($69.7bn) on 5 April.

In the wider Mena region, the first batch of irregular workers in Egypt that applied for financial assistance worth £E500 per month amid the coronavirus outbreak started to cash out their benefits on 13 April. 

The Egyptian government has found 1.5 million workers eligible for the aid programme, part of Cairo’s £E100bn stimulus package during Covid-19.

Egypt has 2,190 cases of Covid-19, with 589 recoveries and 164 deaths. It is the worst-hit country in terms of case numbers outside Iran and the GCC. 

To date, 51,301 individuals in the Mena region have recovered from Covid-19, while 5,439 individuals have died of the illness.

Covid-19 in the Mena region:

(14 April 2020)

COUNTRYLATEST UPDATES

Saudi Arabia               

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 4,934
  • Recoveries: 805
  • Deaths: 65

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 12 April: Taraweeh prayers might be suspended in mosques in Saudi Arabia during the holy month of Ramadan, local newspaper al-Riyadh reported, citing the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah & Guidance
  • 11 April: Interior ministry spokesperson says King Salman ordered the extension of curfews across Saudi Arabia “until further notice” before the expiry of the 21-day curfew measure that started on 23 March
  • 10 April: Islamic University in Madinah launches programme to support coronavirus-related research and studies in different fields, including legal studies related to epidemics and pandemics; studies featuring Saudi Arabia’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus; and the economic impact of these illnesses
  • 10 April: Interior ministry locks down Qurban, Al-Shuraybat, Bani Dhafar, Bani Khidrah, al-Jumuah and part of the Al-Iskan areas in Madinah to curb Covid-19, with residents barred from leaving their homes
  • 10 April: Delivery app workers provided permission to operate around the clock during curfew periods
  • 8 April: Health ministry launches app to monitor condition of suspected Covid-19 patients
  • 7 April: Interior ministry brings forward closure plans for previously unaffected parts of the kingdom, allowing residents to leave their homes only for medical or food supplies locally between 6am and 3pm
  • 7 April: Health minister says compliance with curfew and social distancing guidelines will influence whether the eventual number of coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia is as low as 10,000 or as high as 200,000, warning residents to follow ministry orders to stay home
  • 6 April: Interior ministry applies 24-hour curfew to Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran, Hofuf, and the provinces of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif and Khobar
  • 5 April: Health ministry says results of a Google Maps Covid-19 Community Mobility Report are “very concerning” as the individual mobility rate in Saudi Arabia remains above 40 per cent. Spokesperson Mohammed al-Abd al-Aly urges people to stay home, saying one infected patient could cause between 30 and 70 cases.
  • 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:   

  • 13 April: Saudi companies and individuals have contributed almost SAR1bn ($266m) in cash and kind to the Ministry of Health’s coronavirus fund. The energy sector has contributed about SAR500m and Saudi banks have contributed almost SAR160m. 
  • 12 April: Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (Sama) directs banks to extend the validity of ATM cards that have expired, or are about to expire, until 2 June
  • 12 April: Ministry of Human Resources & Social Development announces adding article 41 to the labour law recently, which includes restricting the use of force majeure as a justification for dismissal for six months following the start of announcing the precautionary measures in the kingdom. Companies benefiting from the Saned scheme’s payouts for employee salaries are not allowed to terminate the Saudis due to force majeure, and for employers that did not benefit from Saned system, termination due to lack of force majeure is not permitted either.
  • 11 April: General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques reveals it is providing more than 4,000 online services aimed at ensuring the quality of work in the mosques
  • 11 April: The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources & Social Development will allocate SR500m ($133m) to the Saudi Fund for Development to help people struggling with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, including the elderly, widows, the disabled, families of prisoners, divorced women, students and stranded Umrah visitors
  • 8 April: General Directorate of Passports will extend the validity of exit and return visas which expire between 25 February and 24 May at no charge
  • 7 April: Saudi Arabia suspends prison sentences in debt cases and King Salman orders temporary release of debtors currently in jail
  • 7 April: SR7bn ($1.86bn) allocated to Health Ministry following earlier SR8bn support package combat the pandemic, and another SR32bn has been approved for health facilities, health minister says
  • 6 April: Ministry of Human Resources & Social Development says Saudi private-sector employers whose businesses are affected by Covid-19 are permitted to cut their employees’ wages and working hours after employees have consented. Employers who have benefited from state subsidies such as the SR9bn ($2.4bn) fund created last week to compensate Saudi workers for the effects of Covid-19 may not terminate employment contracts, but employees retain this right.
  • 5 April: King Salman requests to hold Shoura Council sessions and committee meetings remotely 
  • 5 April: Qassim Governor Prince Faisal bin Mishaal oversees emergency meeting to review measures supporting local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • 5 April: General Authority of Civil Aviation chairman and Saudi transport minister Saleh al-Jasser says work is under way to repatriate Saudi citizens stranded abroad
  • 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 & Social Development has allocated SAR17bn ($4.5bn) to deal with the economic and employment 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 & 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
UAE

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 4,521
  • Recoveries: 852
  • Deaths: 25

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 13 April: Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and Injazat Data Systems launch app to provide healthcare services remotely
  • 13 April: Companies are no longer permitted to send workers out of Abu Dhabi, and must limit their travel to within Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra, capital city's Department of Economic Development says. The entry of workers from other emirates into Abu Dhabi is also no longer permitted.
  • 10 April: Abu Dhabi Police distributes face masks and personal protective supplies among residents of a number of areas in Abu Dhabi, including Musaffah, Mafraq, Shawamekh and Al Ain City to thousands of construction workers
  • 10 April: 129 violators of quarantine measures referred to attorney-general
  • 9 April: Abu Dhabi Health Services Company opens 13 drive-through Covid-19 testing centres
  • 9 April: UAE announces suspension of prayers in all places of worship across the country until further notice
  • 8 April: Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid al-Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman and Chairman of the Executive Council, announces second package of economic incentives focused on sectors including foreign trade, customs, tourism and real estate
  • 7 April: UAE Cabinet approves formation of Supreme National Committee for Volunteerism During Crises as part of measures to combat Covid-19
  • 7 April: Dubai Health Authority expands its medicine home delivery service to cover all of the UAE, and Department of Health – Abu Dhabi licenses pharmacies to make home deliveries in the capital city
  • 6 April: Etihad Airways to test airport technology to help identify medically at-risk travellers
  • 5 April: Dubai Free Zones implement remote working and federal authorities launch initiative for private sector employees wishing to return home while the UAE implements precautionary measures to curb 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 restrict 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:   

  • 13 April: Federation of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry says it stands by the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (Mohre) decision on countries not responding to repatriation requests
  • 12 April: New central bank governor Abdulhamid Saeed calls on banks to confirm their participation in the Targeted Economic Support Scheme aimed at supporting businesses and individuals during Covid-19 pandemic
  • 12 April: Federal export credit company Etihad Credit Insurance commits to providing guarantees and insurance solutions to mitigate the political and commercial risks arising from financing or refinancing export transactions, on behalf of the UAE government
  • 12 April: Labour ministry source says authority is considering revising partnerships on labour relations with nations refusing to cooperate with evacuation measures undertaken by the UAE to repatriate private sector expatriates who wish to return home
  • 12 April: Ministry of Economy reduces fees for 94 services, including those related to innovation, business activities, investment, production, trade and import and export activities
  • 12 April: Ras Al Khaimah developer Al Hamra to roll out 20 per cent cuts in cooling consumption charges from April 2020, benefiting the residents of the Bayti Villas, the Royal Breeze Residences, the Marina Apartments, the Golf Apartments and Bab al Bahr Residences
  • 11 April: Emirates Islamic, part of the Emirates NBD Group, contributes AED10m to support the Community Solidarity Fund Against Covid-19 launched by the Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department in Dubai
  • 10 April: First Abu Dhabi Bank partners with Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) to provide meals to frontline health workers as ERC allocates AED5m to support distance learning
  • 9 April: Dubai’s Department of Finance ordered a 50 per cent cut in capital spending and asked to delay new government construction projects to mitigate financial impact of Covid-19, Bloomberg reports
  • 8 April: UAE Cabinet adopts resolution to grant paid leave to select categories of Federal Government employees
  • 7 April: Aldar Properties to cut 20 per cent of school fees, refund payments made towards catering and transport expenses for the third term of the current academic year for students enrolled in the Aldar Academies and Cranleigh Abu Dhabi schools, and contribute AED10m for remote learning programmes
  • 6 April: Emirates NBD and Emirates Islamic contribute AED2m each to support Ministry of Education’s remote learning initiatives
  • 6 April: Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority unveils support package, including a six-month waiver of all touristic licences, a waiver of tourism dirhams from March to May, and exempting tourism licensing fees for the second and third quarters and tourism licensing fines until 30 September
  • 6 April: Emaar Properties donates AED100m to support the Social Solidarity Fund against Covid-19 launched by the Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department in Dubai
  • 6 April: Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry contributes AED20m to Authority of Social Contribution’s (Ma’an) Covid-19 relief programme
  • 5 April: Sharjah Chamber urges property owners to reschedule rental payments due to Covid-19
  • 5 April: Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri says during cabinet meeting that local stimulus packages provided so far have a combined value of AED126.5bn, and ministry officials in charge of the National SME Programme are working to reduce business costs for small firms
  • 5 April: Ministry of Energy and Industry, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris al-Mazrouei, says 500 food and beverage plants registered with the ministry are currently operational to meet the domestic and export demand, and 70 other facilities will supply the medical sector with equipment, medicine, solutions and medical gases such as oxygen
  • 5 April: Cabinet says IDs to be renewed without fines until the end of 2020, and approves the issuance of fundraising and mental health laws
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Bahrain

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,361
  • Recoveries: 591
  • Deaths: 6

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 9 April: Health Minister Faeqa bint Said Al-Saleh suspends BD7 medical consultation fee, stipulated in edict 2 of 2017, on health fees for non-Bahrainis to consolidate Covid-19 precautionary measures in the country
  • 8 April: National Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (Covid-19) to launch drive-through testing at Bahrain International Convention and Exhibition Centre
  • 7 April: Supreme Council of Health says closures of movie theatres, gyms, swimming pools, shisha cafes, salons and non-essential medical services to remain effective on 9-23 April. Restaurants may only conduct deliveries, public gatherings are to remain limited to five individuals or fewer during the period. All citizens and residents are required to wear face masks while in public.
  • 5 April: Bahrain rolls out e-bracelets and tracking app to ensure individuals required to self-isolate are complying with health orders. The bracelet will notify the monitoring station when the wearer is 15 meters away from their phone and a warning will be sent. Violators face legal penalties as per Public Health Law No. 34 of 2018, including potentially being sentenced to imprisonment for a period not less than three months or a fine of BHD1,000-10,000, or both penalties.
  • 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:  

  • 13 April: Flag carrier Gulf Air repatriates Bahrainis from the UAE, Oman, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey
  • 12 April: Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier leads launch of donations campaign to support national Covid-19 efforts
  • 8 April: Plans announced to pay BD215m ($569.3m) in April-June wages for 100,000 citizens employed in the private sector, waive rents and allowances from tenants of municipal properties and double social security benefits
  • 7 April: Reopening of commercial and industrial businesses providing goods or services directly to customers has been permitted provided employees and visitors wear face masks, overcrowding is prevented, sterilisation is carried out and queueing is arranged with social distancing guidelines in mind. Private sector companies are encouraged to continue working remotely where possible and limit employee numbers within offices.
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Kuwait

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,300
  • Recoveries: 150
  • Deaths: 2

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 11 April: State Audit Bureau approves 12 contracts for sites to be used as quarantine areas for repatriating Kuwaitis, and discussions are under way to use hotels for quarantine as well
  • 12 April: Ministry of Defence to prepare three locations in Jleeb al-Shuyoukh to be used as a field hospital and quarantine area as part of measures to curb Covid-19
  • 10 April: Pharmacies providing home delivery of medicines licensed for 24-hour operations
  • 7 April: Minister of Public Works Rana al-Fares says quarantine facilities for expats in al-Jahra, South Sabahiya and Abdaly will be ready in the coming days as part of measures to curb Covid-19
  • 6 April: Partial curfew extended by two hours and lockdown imposed on the Mahboula and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh areas, which reports say are densely populated by expats. Employers that compel their Mahboula-based workers to leave their homes will face legal action, interior ministry says, adding police forces are monitoring the area.
  • 6 April: Government extends curfew until 26 April
  • 3 April: Sanitisation drive intensifies in capital Kuwait City
  • 1 April: Cabinet closes car workshops and reduces worker numbers at consumer cooperative society outlets 

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 13 April: Kuwaiti cabinet approves phased repatriation of citizens from countries where Covid-19 has spread. The first of the plan’s five phases is due to be held on 19-20 April, covering Kuwaitis that have completed medical treatment abroad along with their companions, tourists or Kuwaitis that were on official assignments. The second stage (23 April) covers patients that need medical beds and life-support equipment. The third (25 April-1 May), fourth (3-4 May) and fifth (6-7) phases respectively cover students, diplomats and other Kuwaitis.
  • 13 April: Boursa Kuwait to delay self-listing on official stock market that was scheduled for 19 April
  • 8 April: Kuwait army plane imports medical equipment and supplies from Ghuangzhou, China
  • 6 April: Kuwait Municipality reduces number of commercial activities exempted from restrictions to nine from 17
  • 5 April: Kuwait Municipality closes fish, cattle and sheep markets to the public. Slaughterhouses have also been closed and all fresh produce will now be sold through cooperative societies, supermarkets and retailers.
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Oman

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 727
  • Recoveries: 124
  • Deaths: 4

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 10 April: Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources calls for the closure of all industrial and commercial activities in the light industrial areas in the country, based on the decision of the Supreme Committee for dealing with coronavirus (Covid-19)
  • 8 April: Supreme Committee on Covid-19 to lock down and isolate Muscat from other governorates, with individuals not allowed to enter or exit the state on 10-22 April. Outdoor movement for essential shopping will be permitted and the movement of trucks, food supply and medical emergency services will be facilitated.
  • 8 April: Schools suspended and distance learning ordered until further notice, and Ministry of Education issues circular postponing all requests for resignations submitted by faculty members and related jobs from Omanis until the end of the next academic year
  • 7 April: Oman’s Government Communications Centre denies the Al Sawadi in Barka has been closed
  • 7 April: Sultan’s Armed Forces, Royal Air Force of Oman, Royal Navy of Oman and Royal Oman Police facilitate social enforcing measures across the sultanate
  • 6 April: Muscat Municipality eyes direct import of goods at Al Mawaleh Central Market
  • 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: 

  • 13 April: The period of free storage for shipments to the cargo terminal of Muscat International airport has been extended until 15 May. The airport’s cargo operations handler handler Transom SATS Cargo said the new free period for general cargo is 96 hours instead of 48 hours and 72 hours instead of 24 hours for perishable cargo and dangerous goods.
  • 13 April: First of five weekly trips concludes to bring 500 tons of food items from Bandar Abbas to Oman’s Suwaiq Port
  • 8 April: Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry calls on banks to postpone loan instalments on companies and private sector workers without additional interest
  • 6 April: Ministry of Commerce & Industry provides temporary permission to import food products, health items and goods without information printed in Arabic, as long as all explanatory data is written in English with the option of adding another language
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Qatar

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 3,231
  • Recoveries: 334
  • Deaths: 7

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 8 April: Commercial activities barred on weekends with exceptions including restaurant deliveries, petrol stations, hotel and medical companies and construction contracting firms, among others
  • 21 March: Public parks and beaches closed 
  • 18 March: Incoming passenger flights to Doha suspended for non-Qataris for renewable two weeks

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 12 April: Bloomberg reports privately owned companies incorporated in Qatar can apply for three months of salary support for their workers under a programme for citizens and expat workers administered by Qatar Development Bank. The programme is worth about QAR3bn ($820m) and is part of Qatar’s QAR75bn economic stimulus package to contend with Covid-19.
  • 7 April: Qatar to postpone $8.2bn-worth of project contracts due to coronavirus, according to a bond prospectus, Reuters reports
  • 6 April: Qatar Petroleum could seek to raise debt next year for its domestic North Field liquefied natural gas (LNG) expansion and will postpone the start of production from its new gas facilities until 2025 following a delay in the bidding process, CEO Saad al-Kaabi tells Reuters
  • 5 April: Qatar University launches emergency response grant with a budget of up to QR150,000 per research track and invites submissions for research proposals
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Iran

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 73,303
  • Recoveries: 45,983
  • Deaths: 4,585

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 rises

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 11 April: Rouhani urges Iranians to continue to follow anti-coronavirus measures as “low-risk” business activities resume in most of the country, with work to resume in Tehran from 18 April
  • 8 April: Iran urges the IMF to urgently approve its $5bn loan appeal as Rouhani says “there should be no discrimination” in approving requests
  • 6 April: Khameini approves withdrawal of $1.08bn from country’s sovereign wealth fund to help fight pandemic
  • 6 April: Foreign ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi says Iran will not ask Washington to support Tehran's fight against Covid-19, but added that “America should lift all its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran”
  • 5 April: Rouhani says Iran to resume “low-risk” economic activity from 11 April, with Tehran resuming these activities from 18 April. Two-thirds of all Iranian government employees will work out of the office from 11 April, Rouhani reportedly said, adding that “high-risk” areas such as schools, universities and social venues would remain closed until 18 April.
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Egypt

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 2,190
  • Recoveries: 589
  • Deaths: 164

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 13 April: Legal measures taken against priest over holding mass despite government decision to ban religious gatherings
  • 13 April: Face masks distributed and screening efforts ramped up at project sites within New Administrative Capital
  • 12 April: Armed Forces provide free masks to citizens as authority reveals it has five manufacturing lines to produce 100,000 masks a day. The Armed Forces also carried out the third round of sterilisation activities in Cairo and Alexandria yesterday.
  • 12 April: Egypt’s Higher Education Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar says Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation to offer $200,000 prize for discovery of Covid-19 vaccine
  • 8 April: Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly says Egypt to extend nationwide night-time curfew and keep social venues closed until 23 April, while airports to remain shut until the end of the month. Salaries of the PM and state ministers to be deducted by 20 per cent for three months.
  • 7 April: Egypt to ban public religious gatherings during the holy month of Ramadan
  • 6 April: Project sites and worker areas in Egypt’s New Alamein city disinfected and Armed Forces sterilise Cairo’s Ramses area, Egypt Today reports
  • 5 April: Banque du Caire closes part of its Nasr City headquarters after employee contracts 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: 

  • 13 April: First batch of irregular workers that applied for financial assistance worth £E500 per month amid the coronavirus outbreak start to cash out aid. The government has found 1.5 million workers eligible for the aid programme, part of Cairo’s £E100bn stimulus package during Covid-19.
  • 12 April: President el-Sisi orders transportation projects in Egypt to continue as matter of national priority  
  • 11 April: Presidency staff donate 20 per cent of their salaries to Tahya Misr fund to support informal industry workers affected by Covid-19
  • 7 April: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi orders Egyptian Armed Forces to distribute masks for free, asks employers to exempt older employees and women from attending work without pay cuts and says construction projects of national significance will not stop
  • 6 April: Health minister allocates El Sheikh Zayed hospital for Cairo University staff and workers infected with Covid-19
  • 5 April: Egypt expects economic growth to slow to 4.5 per cent in the third quarter and to 1 per cent in the last three months of its 2019-20 fiscal year to June because of Covid-19’s economic impact, Planning Minister Hala al-Saeed says. Annual growth targets have been revised from 5.6 per cent to 4.2 per cent.
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Iraq

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,378
  • Recoveries: 717
  • Deaths: 78

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 8 April: Nation-wide curfew extended until 18 April, reports say
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Jordan

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 391
  • Recoveries: 215
  • Deaths: 7

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 12 April: Government extends month-long lockdown that has closed schools, universities and government agencies until 30 April
  • 8 April: Shops and institutions previously exempted from national curfew to close for 48 hours on 9-11 April, Adaileh says
  • 7 April: Minister of State for Media Affairs, Amjad Adaileh, says government may have to impose a comprehensive curfew for more than a day to enable epidemiological investigation teams to increase the effectiveness of their work 
  • 5 April: Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army to monitor curfew compliance using drones, and Marqab area of Amman city locked down as border closures extended till after Ramadan
  • 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: 

  • 13 April: Tourism workers affiliated with the Ministry and the Department of Antiquities are exempted from paying rent, and at least JD10m will be allocated to maintain jobs in the local tourism sector. Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Majd Shweikeh, says government decisions could eventually result in about JD30m being contributed to the Jordanian tourism sector.
  • 9 April: Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply, Tareq Hammouri, says economic sectors will reopen if Jordan’s cases decline, with export commitments to be fulfilled after domestic demand is met
  • 8 April: Razzaz issues defence order stating that all workers in private sector institutions and establishments subject to the Jordanian Labour Law are paid wages for March. Full-time employees’ salaries may be cut by no more than 30 per cent if the reduction is mutually agreed upon and follows salary cuts in the higher management too.
  • 7 April: Telcos Zain, Orange and Umniah to reopen showrooms except those within hypermarkets
  • 7 April: Jordan Chamber of Industry representative says garment factories within industrial zones to resume operations, with only foreign labourers permitted to work at present
  • 7 April: PM Omar Razzaz approves Amman Mayor Yousef Shawarbeh’s request to resume work on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects from 7 April
  • 6 April: Jordan’s central bank governor Ziad Fariz says Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a sharp drop in demand and production and that the tourism sector will require at a least a year to recover
  • 5 April: Labour ministry to take legal measures against private sector entities that laid off 1,281 workers and employees at the end of March instead of following cabinet directives to send public and private sector employees on official paid leave without reductions to their annual leave balance, Roya News reports
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Lebanon

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 632
  • Recoveries: 80
  • Deaths: 20

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 11 April: Bcharri town goes under lockdown as local authorities administer coronavirus tests, local newspaper the Daily Star reports
  • 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: 

  • 8 April: Beirut requires net external financing of $10-$15bn over the next five years to help it through its financial crisis as the economy expects a loss of $83.2bn, according to a draft government plan seen by Reuters
  • 6 April: Lebanese banks will apply an exchange rate of LBP2,600 for withdrawals from accounts of up to LBP5m, central bank source reportedly says
  • 6 April: PM Hassan Diab says Lebanon will audit its central bank’s accounts to show transparency after launching debt restructuring talks with creditors
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Morocco

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,763
  • Recoveries: 203
  • Deaths: 126

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 6 April: Face masks made mandatory and violators face prison sentences of up to three months and a fine of up to MBD1,300
  • 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: 

  • 8 April: Morocco has drawn all $3bn of resources available under a precautionary liquidity arrangement with the IMF, worth about 3 per cent of its GDP, to limit the impact of Covid-19
  • 8 April: National planning agency says Morocco’s economy will contract by 1.8 per cent in the second quarter after growing by 1.1 per cent in the first quarter
  • 5 April: King Mohammed VI pardons 5,654 prisoners and orders measures to protect inmates from the Covid-19 outbreak
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Libya

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 26
  • Recoveries: 9
  • Deaths: 1

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19: 

  • 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: 

  • 10 April: Libya receives medical supplies from Turkey’s National Defense Ministry
  • 5 April: State of emergency continues in Libya as former PM Mahmoud Jibril reportedly dies from coronavirus
  • 14 March: Al-Sarraj government in Tripoli declares state of medical emergency and allots LYD500m for anti-coronavirus measures
As of 11.30 GST, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Tunisia

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 726
  • Recoveries: 43
  • Deaths: 34

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: 

  • 11 April: Tunisia secures $745m IMF loan to contend with Covid-19
  • 7 April: Donations sought to fund 250 intensive care beds to be placed in a sports hall in the capital as country tries to ramp up medical facilities in response to the coronavirus, Reuters reports
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Algeria

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 1,983
  • Recoveries: 601
  • Deaths: 313

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: 

  • 7 April: Algerian central bank says commercial lenders to defer or reschedule loan payments for firms which have been financially affected by the coronavirus crisis. Banks will continue to finance customers benefiting from loan payment deferrals, while reducing their minimum liquidity requirement to raise funding levels, according to Reuters.
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Yemen

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

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

Actions to slow the spread of Covid-19:

  • 11 April: Authorities in the southeastern Yemeni province of Hadramout move to curb Covid-19 in the port city of Al-Sheher by imposing further measures, where country’s first case was announced on 10 April. A curfew from 6pm to 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.
  • 10 April: Yemen’s Ministry of Religious Endowment in Aden said mosques will be closed to mass prayers as well as Quran lessons, UAE newspaper the National reports after country's first case is announced. Partial curfew and 14-day worker quarantine is imposed at al-Sheher port, and the adjacent province of al-Mahra has sealed off its entry points.
  • 1 April: More than 470 inmates freed to contain coronavirus, UAE newspaper the National reports

Measures to minimise the economic crisis: 

  • 10 April: World Health Organisation’s Yemen representative Altaf Musani says the organisation has provided 500 testing kits and dedicated 37 health facilities as isolation units
  • 8 April: United Nations humanitarian response plan for Yemen in 2020 to include $500m from Saudi Arabia and another $25m to combat the spread of Covid-19
  • 5 April: Yemeni government ready to make prisoner swap with Houthis as negotiating team urges to finalise deal amid the coronavirus pandemic, UAE newspaper the National reports
  • 4 April: Yemen to receive $26.9m from the World Bank to battle pandemic
As of 11.30 GST, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.
Syria

Covid-19 pandemic latest:

  • Total confirmed cases: 25
  • Recoveries: 5
  • 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, 14 April 2020. Click here for Covid-19 updates in Mena during March 2020.

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