Several Gulf States See Post-Eid Rise in New Coronavirus Cases
Bahrain sees highest single-day increase; Saudi Arabia again surpasses 1,000 new cases a day
In the wake of Eid al-Fitr, several countries are seeing an increase in new coronavirus cases.
On May 19, the number of new cases in Bahrain in a 24-hour period reached a new height, with 2,354 added COVID-19 cases.
In Saudi Arabia, where daily new cases dipped below 90 in January and remained below 1,000 most of the time since then, stood at 1,213 on May 19. The United Arab Emirates reports a slight trend increase in new cases this week, with 1,348 cases on May 19.
In vaccine news, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain declared on May 18 that they would start offering residents a third jab of Sinopharm to bolster immunity to coronavirus amid worries that it does not work as well as the other inoculations on the market, at a 79.34% effectiveness rate.
The state-sponsored Oman News Agency reported on May 19 that Oman’s health minister, Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Saeedi, announced the pending arrival of approximately 200,000 doses weekly of an unnamed coronavirus vaccine starting in June.
Gulf News reported on May 17 that it had received its first shipment of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, with Chinese nationals being given first preference.
Iran received the second shipment of the British-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine Sunday from COVAX, a joint effort led by the World Health Organization and Gavi – the vaccine alliance, along with other nonprofit organizations to get coronavirus inoculations more evenly distributed throughout the world. The Islamic Republic obtained its premier shipment on April 5. Tehran reported on May 19 that the country’s total number of infections was a little below 3 million.
When it comes to enforcement of coronavirus regulations, Qatar has been particularly stringent. The Peninsula in Qatar reported that on May 19, cases against 590 people accused of infractions such as going without masks and not practicing social distancing were sent to the Public Prosecution office.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Kuwait Times reported that the Kuwaiti government decided earlier in the week to loosen restrictions starting May 23, when restaurants would be allowed to host diners indoors, albeit with certain coronavirus precautions in place.
For the first time in over a year, Saudi Arabia is permitting its citizens to travel abroad starting May 24.
However, Egypt has extended its nighttime lockdown on May 19 for the rest of the month amid rising cases.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of 1 pm Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0) on Thursday.
|Country||Confirmed Cases||Deaths||Recovered||Active Cases|
|United Arab Emirates||551,430||1,642||531,459||18,329|
Steven Ganot contributed to this report.