Arab countries are scrambling to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in the crisis-ridden region, taking sweeping measures to slow the spread of the virus, and trying to avoid an Iran-like outbreak.
Here’s what we know:
Saudi Arabia: The government has partially shut shopping malls, banned eating and drinking inside restaurants and cafes, and closed public spaces. Apart from Saudi nationals, passengers who have transited through or have been in Bahrain, China, Taiwan, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, South Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macau, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey or the United Arab Emirates in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter.
The United Arab Emirates: The country has suspended tourist visas and cultural activities, and the country has taken a series of measures to promote social distancing, including the closure of bars, clubs and lounges in the country’s commercial hub, Dubai.
Qatar: Only nationals are permitted entry into the country. The gas-rich state is largely composed of expatriates, with Qataris making up a minority of the population.
Kuwait: Last week, the country closed its borders after seeing a surge in reported cases that originated in Iran. Social media videos showed Kuwaiti mosque leaders urging believers to “pray at home” through megaphones.
Lebanon: The government has announced a two-week lockdown, banning public and private gatherings and closing all commercial companies, except for those that produce food. The country, which is also embroiled in its worst economic crisis since its civil war, has closed aerial, naval and land borders.
Iraq: Authorities announced a six-day curfew on Sunday, prompting people to throng supermarkets and stockpile on essential goods. The curfew is set to begin on late Tuesday.
Egypt: The World Health Organization has praised the country’s coronavirus response. Authorities have been “very well guided by the World Health Organization — they practiced well in order to contain the clusters from the beginning of the occurrence.”
Morocco: The country’s foreign ministry announced on Sunday that it would suspend all international flights to and from its territory “until further notice.” That move has reportedly left a number of tourists stranded in the country, considered a global tourist hotspot.