Middle East prepares further lockdowns as Ramadan nears end 

People wearing masks for protection against the coronavirus, walk in the Mall of Dubai on April 28, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 14 May 2020

Middle East prepares further lockdowns as Ramadan nears end 

Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday a 24-hour curfew will be imposed across the Kingdom during the five-day Eid Al-Fitr holiday (May 23 to 27).

The Saudi Interior Ministry said the decision was made to check the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile Lebanon’s government ordered the “full closure” of the country for four days, starting Wednesday night, as it seeks to ward off a coronavirus resurgence after easing some restrictions.

The rise in new infections follows a drop in cases to zero last week. “This achievement is at risk of collapsing” because some people have not complied with the guidelines, Prime Minister Hassan Diab was quoted as saying during a Cabinet meeting.

However, Dubai announced its decision to allow hotels to open private beaches, but only for their guests, state news agency WAM reported.

Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management approved a number of new initiatives to ease restrictions on people’s movement in the emirate including the reopening of public parks.

May 13, 2020 Wednesday (in GMT)

17:55 - France says its death toll from the coronavirus in hospitals and nursing homes rose on Wednesday to 27,074 from 26,991 on Tuesday.

17:42 - The United Arab Emirates reports 725 new coronavirus infections, WAM said.

16:44 - The United Nations is forecasting that the coronavirus pandemic will shrink the world economy by 3.2 percent this year, the sharpest contraction since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The UN’s mid-year report said COVID-19 is expected to slash global economic output by nearly $8.5 trillion over the next two years, wiping out nearly all gains of the last four years.

15:51 - Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 195, against 172 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, but the daily tally of new cases fell to 888 from 1,402 on Tuesday.

The total death toll now stands at 31,106 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the US and UK.
The number of confirmed cases amounts to 222,104, the fifth highest global tally.

15:41 - New York's statewide coronavirus deaths increased by 166 on May 12, vs. 195 deaths a day earlier, and the three-day rolling average of new COVIDー19 hospitalizations rose to 416 from 401 a day earlier, Governor Andrew Cuomo said. 

15:18 - Oman’s minister for financial affairs said the financial impact of measures taken to deal with the country’s exceptional economic situation exceeds 1.3 billion Omani riyals ($3.4 billion), state new agency ONA reported.
Oman has made significant cuts to government spending in recent months including a further 5% cut to government bodies and the armed forces.

15:06 - Canada's total coronavirus cases rose to 71,486 from 70,342 on May 12, with 5,209 deaths, up from 5,049, according to Public Health Agency data.

15:02 - The United Arab Emirates will review the structure and size of its government as part of its strategy for dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s vice president said.
“We may merge ministries and alter bodies. We will make changes. We need a more agile, flexible and speedy government,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, who is also the ruler of regional tourism and business hub Dubai, said on Twitter, reporting the outcome of government meetings held Wednesday.

13:51 - Yemen’s internationally recognized government reported the first coronavirus case in Marib province and four other infections elsewhere, taking the tally of cases in areas under its control to 70, including 12 deaths.
The Aden-based government’s coronavirus committee said two cases including one death were reported in Aden, and two in Lahej, including one death.

13:14 - A total of 33,186 people who tested positive for the new coronavirus have died in the United Kingdom, a rise of 494 in a 24-hour period, the health ministry said.
The figures are as of 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) on May 12. Including deaths due to suspected cases, Britain’s toll is over 40,000.

12:45 - Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry has confirmed 1,905 new coronavirus cases, increasing the total number of infected people in the country to 44,830. The authority has also reported 2,365 additional recoveries and nine fatalities, brining the total number of recovered patients to 17,622 and 273 deaths.

11:07 - UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement that 144 health workers and 131 care workers in the country have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

11:02 – Germany will start to relax from Saturday some border controls introduced in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus with the aim of having free travel in Europe from mid-June. READ THE STORY

10:18Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus inched up to 184 fatalities from 176 on Tuesday, the country’s health ministry said.

08:34Two people in Hong Kong tested positive for coronavirus, officials said, ending a 24-day run of no new local cases that saw the city begin to ease social distancing regulations.

08:31 - UAE carrier, Emirates, will resume scheduled flights to nine destinations, as well as connections flights in Dubai for people traveling between the UK and Australia, from May 21, the airline confirmed in a statement.

But while tickets will be available on the airline’s website, emirates.com, all passengers must first ensure they comply with the entry requirements of their intended destination countries.

This includes an approval from the Federal Authority for Identify and Citizenship (ICA) for UAE residents who wish to return to Dubai.

08:30 – The EU Commission Wednesday proposed prolonging travel restrictions for people entering EU or Schengen states from outside to June 15.

08:27 – Tunisia has bucked the trend after a third consecutive day of no new coronavirus infections being reported.

08:12 – The Philippines’ health ministry recorded 21 more coronavirus deaths and 268 additional infections.

07:39Russia reported 10,028 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, pushing its nationwide tally to 242,271.

06:57 – A northeastern Chinese city has partially shut its borders and cut off transport links after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fueled growing fears of a second wave of infections in China.

06:45 – South Korea says it has no immediate plans to revive strict social distancing rules despite a spike in coronavirus cases linked to nightclubs in Seoul.

06:38 – Australians need to stay on guard against new outbreaks of the coronavirus as mobility restrictions are eased this week, authorities said, as the death toll rose to 98 on Wednesday.

06:24 – Abu Dhabi airline Etihad says it will conduct a special flight on May 15 to New York.

06:17 – Thailand on Wednesday reported no new coronavirus cases for the first time since March 9. The country has a total of 3,017 cases and 56 deaths since the outbreak escalated in January.

06:11 – The UN Security Council is trying again to reach agreement on its first resolution since the coronavirus pandemic started circling the globe over two months ago, but a dispute between the US and China over mentioning the World Health Organization remains unresolved.


LIVE: Middle East returns to normal life amid strict COVID-19 measures 

Updated 17 min 27 sec ago

LIVE: Middle East returns to normal life amid strict COVID-19 measures 

DUBAI: Efforts to return life gradually back to some kind of normality in parts of the Middle East continue, as governments get ready to reopen borders and airlines take bookings for flights. 
Tunisia said it will open its sea, land and air borders on June 27 in the hope of rescuing its tourism industry as the coronavirus pandemic comes under control.
Emirates airline also announced that it was taking bookings for flights from Dubai to 12 Arab countries from the start of July. Emirates began operating scheduled flight services to nine destinations around the world from May 21, including London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s commercial complexes, hotels, cafes and museums reopened their doors to customers on Monday after closing for two-and-a-half months. 

June 2, Tuesday (GMT Times)

13:41 - Dubai will allow full reopening of malls and private sector businesses starting on Wednesday, the emirate’s media office announced in a statement.

12:45 - Saudi Arabia registered 1,869 new coronavirus cases and 1,484 people have recovered.

12:13 - Zimbabwean troops and police on Tuesday tightened the coronavirus lockdown in the capital Harare, blocking many cars and buses from entering the central business district as cases of infections increased.

11:44 - Qatar has reported 1,826 coronavirus cases, raising total to 60,259.

11:28 -  Scientists have found 27 key proteins in the blood of people infected with COVID-19 which they say could act as predictive biomarkers for how ill a patient could become with the disease.

10:24 - Kuwait has confirmed 887 coronavirus cases and the recovery of 50 percent of total infected people.

10:22 - UAE has recorded 596 coronavirus cases and 388 recoveries.

09:43 - New reported cases of coronavirus are steadily declining in Western Europe, but not in Russia and Eastern Europe: World Health Organization spokeswoman said.

09:34 - Formula One has unveiled an eight-race schedule in Europe from July 5 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

09:32 - Iran has reported 64 coronavirus deaths, 3,117 cases, raising total infected people to 157,562 with 7,942 fatalities.

09:20 - The number of coronavirus deaths in Britain is close to 50,000, Reuters reported.

09:07 – Hong Kong will extend restrictions on foreign visitors by another three months and an eight-person limit on group gatherings by two weeks, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Tuesday.
Both measures were due to expire later in June.
Travellers to Hong Kong need to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine period.

08:45 – 12,739 people died from coronavirus in England and Wales as of May 22, the Office for National Statistics said.

08:16 – Senegal has postponed the restart of schools until further notice after several teachers tested positive for the new coronavirus, the education ministry said late on Monday.

07:51 – Russia has confirmed 8,863 coronavirus cases and 182 deaths in the past 24 hours.

07:02 – A Wuhan doctor who worked with coronavirus whistleblower Li Wenliang died of the virus last week, state media reported Tuesday, becoming China's first COVID-19 fatality in weeks.
07:00 Paris gets some of its pre-lockdown life back as cafes and restaurants partially reopen Tuesday.
06:51 – The global coronavirus death toll has topped 375,000, according to AFP tally.

06:45 – The first Rohingya refugee died from coronavirus in Bangladesh, an official said.

05:59Egypt has sanitized prisons and carried out tests on prisoners across the country after banning visits to help curb the spread of coronavirus, local daily Egypt Today reported.

05:50 – A cluster of nine coronavirus cases raised concerns in Hong Kong over renewed local transmission in a city that has been one of the most successful in keeping the pandemic under control. 

05:18 – The United States on Monday recorded 743 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, bringing its total to 105,099 since the global pandemic began.