The novel coronavirus was first recorded in the Chinese province of Hubei back in January, and life hasn’t been the same since. The virus has spread across the world, including our region, forcing many countries to implement restrictions that included a total lockdown to curb the spread of the infection. The economy, on the other hand, got hit badly as people from around the world ended up with no jobs, companies were shut down, borders were closed, everyone was forced to stay home.
The economy was heavily impacted, and governments couldn’t avoid a sharp economic decline so most countries eventually decided to lift the lockdown restrictions.
Due to that, the world is currently suffering from a second wave, and countries are once again implementing new lockdown measures to contain the spread. So let’s check which countries from our region are applying new lockdown rules.
The Egyptian government just released a new statement explaining the new lockdown timings. Starting December, shops, and malls will open from 7 AM to 10 PM during the week in the winter, and 11 PM during summertime. On weekends and holidays, shops will close at 11 PM in the winter, and at 12 AM during the summertime. Dining and bazaars, on the other hand, will be allowed to open from 5 AM to 12 AM in the winter, and until 1 AM during weekdays. And for workshop spaces and handicrafts stores located at residential buildings, they will operate between 8 AM until 6 PM in the winter and will be forced to close at 7 PM during summertime.
In Jordan, the royal family decided to extend the evening curfew to start from 10 PM to 6 AM, with all commercial outlets to be closed by 9 PM. All gyms and indoor sports facilities will also be closed until further notice. Wael Hajayneh, head of Jordan’s COVID-19 task force, said in a statement that all measures are aimed to protect the lives of health care workers and strengthen hospitals which, due to COVID19 cases are around “half-capacity”.
The Lebanese government will also impose lockdown measures despite the economic cost. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said a “stage of extreme danger” had been reached as hospitals are currently unable to admit patients that suffer critical condition “Today, we have reached the red line in the number of infections, and we have reached the stage of extreme danger in light of the inability of government and private hospitals to receive critical cases”…”We are afraid that we will reach a stage where people die in the streets in the absence of places in hospitals to treat the injured, or that there is a trade-off between one person and another.” PM Diab imposed a full nationwide lockdown that will continue till the 29th of November.
The UAE, on the other hand, hasn’t imposed a full lockdown yet. However, they have been in fact following the necessary measures to reduce and stop the spread of the virus that varies between wearing masks, keeping a distance, and all activities to take place in outdoor spaces.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Mask-wearing in the Kingdom is now mandatory and whoever fails to do so will have to pay a fine of SR1,000. And fine will be doubled if they repeat the violation. Businesses and facilities that allow people to enter without wearing masks will also face a fine of SR10,000. Limitations on social gatherings are established as well; family gatherings with 50 or more members will face a fine of SR10,000.
Sultanate of Oman
Oman has recently recorded 119,442 positive cases, which is the 49th highest number in the world! Many restrictions remain in place across the Sultanate that includes the prohibition of public gatherings and mandatory face masks. Beaches, mosques, and other places of worship and most tourist sites remain either closed or have limited access.
Starting today, Bahrain’s Ministry of Health is conducting random COVID-19 testing in several areas, and it’s available during both the morning and evening hours.