Middle East looking to revive economy despite rising coronavirus infections

Middle East looking to revive economy despite rising coronavirus infections
A man sells ballons at Beirut seaside corniche on May, 13, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 May 2020

Middle East looking to revive economy despite rising coronavirus infections

Middle East looking to revive economy despite rising coronavirus infections

Countries across the Middle East are looking for ways to revive their economies, despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections.

Meanwhile shortly after Saudi Arabia suspended the cost of living allowance and increased the value-added tax (VAT), it urged other producers to join them in mitigating the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on energy demand. The country – which depends on the stability of oil production - confirmed a total of 44,830 cases of virus infections.

Lebanon, meanwhile, called on the public to stay home, starting Wednesday evening until dawn on Monday, reversing measures earlier this month that phased out restrictions imposed since mid-March.

May 14, 2020 Thursday (GMT times)

13:20 - The COVID-19 death toll in the United Kingdom rose by 428 to 33,614, health officials said on Thursday.
An update from the officials also showed that more than 126,000 tests were carried out on May 13.

10:49 - Qatar confirms 1,733 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of infected people to 28,272

10:04 - The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed 698 new COVID-19 cases, increasing the total to 21,084 infected people.

The ministry also said there had been 407 recoveries, placing the number of recovered patients in the country at 6,930. There were two fatalities, increasing the death toll to 208.

09:51 - Kuwait confirms 188 new coronavirus recoveries, bringing the total number of recovered patients to 3,451

09:31 - China rejected US ‘smearing’ of attempted coronavirus vaccine theft claim

09:05 - The number of coronavirus cases in Spain increase to 229,540 and deaths reach 27,321

08:43 - European Medicines Agency says the coronavirus vaccine could be ready for approval in a year’s time

08:21 - China's National Health Commission will step up COVID-19 testing and screening, to prevent rebound of pandemic.

07:37 - Armenia extends state of emergency until June 13 to curb the spread of coronavirus.

07:20 – The deadly coronavirus pandemic will cost the global insurance industry about $203 billion, the Lloyd’s of London market forecast on Thursday.

06:41 – France's nationwide lockdown reduced the number of those normally classified as unemployed by making it impossible for them to look for work, dropping unemployment figures in the first quarter to an 11-year low, authorities said on Thursday.

06:40 – A powerful typhoon hit the central Philippines Thursday, forcing a complicated and risky evacuation for tens of thousands already hunkered down at home during the coronavirus pandemic. At least 200,000 people live in coastal areas or flimsy homes in the province near where the storm, called Typhoon Vongfong, made landfall with fierce winds and heavy rain.

06:30 – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged governments, civil society and health authorities on Wednesday to urgently address mental health needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic, warning that psychological suffering is increasing.

06:28 – The head of Dubai airport said temperature screening and face masks will become common sights at airports to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus but physical distancing could make flying more expensive.

06:20 – The next pandemic could be in the Amazon rainforest, warns Brazilian ecologist David Lapola, who says human encroachment on animals' habitats - a likely culprit in the coronavirus outbreak - is soaring there because of rampant deforestation.

06:07 – Oil prices edged higher Thursday on signs that production cuts are easing a virus-triggered glut, but gains were capped after the head of the Federal Reserve warned about the pandemic's economic impact.

05:05 – The coronavirus may never go away and populations will have to learn to live with it just as they have HIV, the World Health Organization has warned.


Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area
Updated 36 min 38 sec ago

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area

Pentagon includes Israel in Middle East command area
  • Moving Israel under the Central Command potentially makes security cooperation with the US on regional matters easier
  • The move could bring Israeli military officials in closer proximity to those of Gulf neighbors

WASHINGTON: The US Defense Department announced Friday that it would include close ally Israel in the area covered by its Middle East-focused Central Command.
In another sign of the rapprochement brokered by President Donald Trump between Israel and Arab countries, the Pentagon said US military dealings with Israel would no longer be handled by its European Command.
“We structure boundaries to best mitigate risk and protect US interests and partners,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
“The easing of tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors subsequent to the Abraham Accords has provided a strategic opportunity for the United States to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East.”
That was mainly a reference to Iran, which the United States, Israel and Arab countries view as the leading security threat to the region.
For decades at odds with its Arab neighbors over its treatment of Palestinians, Israel has over the past year broken barriers on open cooperation and communications with Gulf countries under the Trump-fostered Abraham Accords.
Moving it under the Central Command potentially makes security cooperation with the United States on regional matters easier, and could bring Israeli military officials in closer proximity to those of Gulf neighbors.
But it could also complicate CentCom cooperation with Iran allies like Iraq, where the US retains 2,500 troops.
“Israel is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our US Central Command partners, while maintaining strong cooperation between Israel and our European allies,” the Pentagon said.