Infected: The impact of the coronavirus on the Middle East
Coronavirus has created havoc at almost all major parts of the globe. It has created a lot of ripples in the regions of the Middle-East which is already loaded with many issues like border disputes, economic crisis, political confusion, and other long-running struggles. Businesses across all sectors are being hit badly and the combination of governments/Industries is trying to curb the spread of epidemic meanwhile handle the economic slowdown.
The impact of the coronavirus on the Middle East:
Even with the constant political dispute between the two countries, coronavirus has made Israel, Palestine, and Hamas collaborate in preventing the spread of the epidemic.
Israel has taken all the major containment measures that are followed globally. They have given rights to the domestic security service to track the phones of positive and near contacts of coronavirus patients. They are making use of their already present surveillance technique. In the region of West Bank, Palestine has imposed lockdowns across all major parts. Despite all the political tensions, Israel and PA have collaborated to stop the spread of the outbreak.
Iran has seen the highest number of cases in the Middle East region. Already stuck with economic issues, the Iran government is struggling hard to stop the spread of the disease. They have been facing criticism from everywhere due to their lack of immediate response to the epidemic. Because of many restrictions on Iran by the US, there was a delay in the supply of urgent medical supplies and other essential goods into the country. There have been repeated attempts in requesting the US to relax the restrictions. Iran is planning to relax the lockdowns in certain less affected areas to promote certain economic activities.
- Compared to the rest of the world, Coronavirus’s impact is less on North African nations, probably due to their less air travel. But they have implemented strict containment actions because their healthcare system is very weak and they could struggle to deal if there is an increase in the outbreak. But since the countries are mostly reliant on trade and tourism, these regions could have a serious impact in the future.
- Egypt is the highest impacted country in the region due to the influence of Nile cruises. As the city of Cairo is densely populated, it would be very difficult if the epidemic speeds up the intensity. There are also concerns about the overly crowded Egyptian prisons. Egypt is acting to stop the spread and has suspended all the flights to the country for over a month.
- Libya is a country that was affected hugely affected by the conflict between governments and its vast population. It is highly vulnerable to the outbreak as many people are living in hazardous conditions. The country has many migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa who are living in makeshift shelters. The Governments of National Accord (GNA) and the eastern Libya Government are imposing social distancing, closed schools, and promoted public information campaigns.
- Tunisia is enjoying good support from the public for all the measures taken by the Government to stop the spread of disease. With an already struggling economic crisis, the country could be in more trouble if the epidemic increases its speed of spreading. The country could be affected by a decline in trade with Europe and revenues from tourism.
- Morocco is also suffering from regional disputes and economic crisis that has created a huge public dissatisfaction within the country. The government has imposed all types of measures to curb the virus but all of them being voluntarily following them. A prolonged situation could have a big jolt on the economic issues of the country.
- Algeria was warned by WHO for being highly susceptible to the effects of coronavirus due to its constant China links. The government initiated many containment measures like school and mosque closures, suspending all types of travels, etc. They also imported many healthcare equipment and goods to support its already weak system. These lockdown measures have resulted in the closure of long-time protests demanding the transformation of countries’ political systems.
UAE, Saudi Arabia:
- The impact of the coronavirus on the Middle East and Saudi Arabia has been impacted by the arrival of Coronavirus as the daily life of people is affected hugely. The holy cities of Mecca and Medina were closed very early and no foreign worshippers were allowed to enter. The country has taken many steps to stop the epidemic from spreading. Lockdowns are implemented across all the major cities like Tabuk, Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah, Qatif, Taif, Dhahran, and Khobar. All the international travels were suspended very early. Major public places like schools, markets, malls, beauty salons, and other events were blocked indefinitely. But the supply of essential goods and services is continued and the priority is given to hygiene at all the places.
- Dubai which is a tourism hub, and hosts millions of visitors every year has completely shut down its major attractions and outlets. The economy is going to take a jolt with the country highly reliant on tourism revenue. Qatar has closed the borders and stopped all types of travel. The country is taking all measures to stop the spread of the epidemic. Bahrain has self-isolated all the people who have arrived from international travel especially from Iran and China. Bahrain and almost all the other major areas of UAE have banned all types of travel by losing their borders. Iraq and Kuwait have banned the entry of foreign nationals and closed their borders to each other and also Iran. Oman and Jordan have also suspended all the flights and are following all norms to curb the spread of disease.
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