COVID-19 in the Middle East: Leaders of the Arab World Step Up in the Face of a Global Crisis

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in the Arab region, Arab leaders have been putting in extensive efforts to combat its spread and increase precautionary measures, in attempts to contain it, at times each in their own countries, and at other times discussing cooperation and joint efforts.

Whether through financial aid to try and lift the economy, or by providing assistance or support to the health industry, our leaders have been offering all kinds of support to their people and governments, to ease this unprecedented crisis.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI pardoned 5,654 prisoners, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pardoned 10,000 prisoners, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied pardoned 5,037 prisoners, and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa pardoned 901 prisoners, in efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic among inmates.

In Egypt, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi allocated a 100 billion Egyptian pound fund to finance the country’s “comprehensive plan” in tackling the spread of COVID-19. El-Sisi also signed a declaration that the national fund ‘Tahya Masr’ (Long Live Egypt) will bear the quarantine cost of the Egyptians who were evacuated from countries abroad due to the pandemic.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud offered to pay for the treatment of Coronavirus patients in the kingdom, both citizens and residents. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also ordered 9 billion riyals ($2.4 billion) to be disbursed to contribute to paying part of the wages of private sector workers, to prevent companies from laying off their staff.

To reduce the financial burden of the crisis on Algerian citizens, Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid and his presidential staff announced donating one month’s salary, contributing to other national support efforts.

And sometimes, a kind gesture is all it takes to support your people. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, made a phone call to the Dubai Health Authority’s emergency centre. “We are proud of you all – all doctors and nurses, paramedics and administrative officials in the health sector. You are on the frontline of our nation’s defense, and the task you are undertaking is a great one, but it isn’t done yet,” said His Highness during the call.

Till now, the journey has been a mix of individual efforts as well as government, but overall, it’s nice to have everyone do their part and join hands to make this challenging phase come to an end.

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