COVID-19 deaths per million population, as of May 6, 2020. (Dan Polansky and authors of File:BlankMap-World.svg via Wikimedia Commons)

Coronavirus Mideast Roundup

The latest COVID-19 information and statistics for the Middle East and North Africa

Mosques and malls across the Middle East and North Africa region are beginning to reopen their doors as governments ease monthslong restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

However, analysts caution that these exit strategies motivated by economic concerns aren’t necessarily aligning with the timetable of COVID-19.

“There is no scientific basis for easing coronavirus restrictions anywhere, least of all in countries with limited medical facilities and service provision,” Ben Connable, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, told The Media Line.

As an example, Egypt’s Tourism Minister Khaled al Anani announced on Sunday that in the coming weeks, hotels would partially reopen to domestic tourists and domestic flights would be allowed to start taking off.

But the forecasting based on the most recent data, according to Connable, shows that Egypt is nowhere near ready for tourist activity to begin again.

“Running even a mild-case, single-wave estimate for countries like Egypt suggests that over the next several months, we will see hundreds of thousands of deaths and maximum hospitalization of hundreds of thousands – and in some cases more than one million people – in a given day during peak crisis,” Connable said. “That max hospitalization figure is one that should sober any Middle Eastern leader currently considering easing policies.”

Other MENA countries that have recently announced the reopening of parts of their economies include Bahrain, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

“The decision to start lifting restrictions is more related to economic circumstances,” Emily Estelle, research manager of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute, told The Media Line. “Many of these states simply cannot afford to have populations stay at home, particularly the large percentage of people relying on informal urban employment.”

Estelle warned that even with the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, the MENA region could still face an economic crisis and political instability, particularly oil-producing nations if they aren’t able to hold up their end of the bargain with their domestic populations – oil wealth and security in exchange for power.

Indeed, an April report released by the International Monetary Fund predicts that MENA economies will see their biggest slump in four decades due to the coronavirus and low oil prices, with the region contracting by 3.3% during 2020.

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for the Middle East and North Africa as of Friday morning at 7 am Greenwich Mean Time (UTC±0).

CountryConfirmed casesDeathsRecoveredActive Cases
Afghanistan3,5631064682,989
Algeria5,1824832,3232,376
Bahrain4,19982,0002,191
Cyprus88915400474
Djibouti1,1333799331
Egypt7,9814821,8875,612
Iran103,1356,48682,74413,905
Iraq2,5431021,626815
Israel16,38124010,8735,268
Jordan4949381104
Kuwait6,567442,3814,142
Lebanon78425220539
Libya6432437
Mauritania8161
Morocco5,5481832,1793,186
Oman2,958159801,963
Pakistan25,8375947,53017,713
Palestinian Territories3752176197
Qatar18,890122,28616,592
Saudi Arabia33,7312197,79825,714
Somalia92844106778
Sudan9305292786
Syria4532715
Tunisia1,02644600382
Turkey133,7213,64182,98447,096
United Arab Emirates16,2401653,57212,503
Yemen255119
Total393,17712,986214,463165,728

 

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.