ME countries continue taking steps to fight COVID-19

Residents of the Lebanese capital Beirut stroll along the seaside corniche, despite the lingering threat of the novel coronavirus, on Sunday. (AFP)
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Updated 01 June 2020

ME countries continue taking steps to fight COVID-19

  • Abu Dhabi announces one-week ban on traffic to be implemented from June 2

DUBAI: Countries in the Middle East are taking different measures based on the ground situation to effectively fight the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Many countries in the Gulf are easing restrictions amid strict precaution
Abu Dhabi, the largest member of the UAE federation, announced a one-week ban on traffic to and between its main cities, to be implemented from June 2, the local government media office said on Sunday.
The restrictions include a ban on entering and exiting the emirate of Abu Dhabi as a whole, it said on Twitter.
The city of Abu Dhabi is also the capital of the seven-member federation.
The other cities of the oil-rich emirate of Abu Dhabi mentioned by the announcement are Al-Ain and Al-Dhafra. Movement within these cities is allowed as long as a night curfew, already in force, is observed.

Accommodations
Employers in Bahrain have provided new accommodation for workers to ease overcrowding in labor camps as the country struggles to contain the spread of the virus, the state news agency has reported.
The move comes as the country urged employers to ensure workers’ safety, especially in high-density accommodation.
Labor and Social Development Minister Jameel bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan said it was important for employers to adhere to preventive measures and commit to social distancing standards at worksites and labor camps.
He said around 8,011 workers have so far been given new accommodation.
A special committee was formed to monitor the cooperation of companies, Humaidan said, adding violators will be punished.
The minister said the private sector should implement working from home as much as possible, as long as it would not affect productivity levels.
Humaidan also said the ministry had ordered 1,055 worksites for regular sanitation, and had urged companies to ensure their workers are aware of ways to prevent the spread infectious and communicable diseases.

FASTFACTS

• Employers in Bahrain have provided new accommodation for workers to ease overcrowding in labor camps.

• Authorities have reinstated a full lockdown in the village of Majdal Anjar in Bekaa, East Lebanon.

The ministry will distribute more than 400,000 booklets to 350,000 foreign workers in various languages as part of a national awareness campaign against the spread of COVID-19.

Academic year
Kuwaiti Education Minister Saud Al-Harbi said cutting the school year short will jeopardize thousands of students, and will not be an “easy decision,” state news agency KUNA reported.
Al-Harbi said the decision depends on the country’s health situation amid the pandemic.
He added the ministry prioritizes the safety of students and staff, and also the possible impact of ending the academic year after only one semester.
Students who failed to attend first semester exams would be at a disadvantage if the ministry decides to end the school year, Al-Harbi said, adding there are students relying on the second semester to improve their scores.
A final recommendation will be announced on July 15, the minister said.
Meanwhile, Al-Harbi said the ministry will instruct schools to start online classes for grade 12 students before June 15.

Lockdown
Local authorities have reinstated a full lockdown in the village of Majdal Anjar in Bekaa, East Lebanon, after it recorded another wave of coronavirus infections, national newspaper the Daily Star reported.
A five-day lockdown in the town will be enforced, according to the municipality — all stores and institutions will be shut down during this period.
The decision comes as the local government detected infection clusters in the village — including 13 cases among Syrian refugees last week. The town went under lockdown last Friday when 32 people were found to have the virus.
The country has been carrying out targeted testing campaigns, especially in areas conducive to the spread of COVID-19.

 


El-Sisi says Egypt will not stand idle to threat to Egyptian and Libyan security

Updated 7 min 1 sec ago

El-Sisi says Egypt will not stand idle to threat to Egyptian and Libyan security

  • Libyan tribal leaders flew on Wednesday to Cairo from the eastern city of Benghazi for a meeting with El-Sisi
  • El-Sisi said at the meeting Egypt’s main goal in Libya was to “activate the free will of the Libyan people”

CAIRO: Egypt will not stand idle in the face of any moves that pose a direct threat to Egyptian and Libyan national security, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Thursday, according to a presidency statement.
The statement also said tribal leaders meeting El-Sisi in Cairo had authorized the president and Egypt's army to intervene in their country "to protect Libyan sovereignty".
El-Sisi met mainly eastern Libyan tribesmen in a show of solidarity on Thursday, days after Libya’s eastern-based parliament urged Cairo to intervene in their country’s civil war.
The meeting reflects the growing regional stakes in Libya, divided since 2014 between areas held by the government in Tripoli, backed by Turkey, and a rival eastern administration, backed by the UAE, Russia and Egypt.
On Tuesday, the eastern-based parliament allied to commander Haftar Khalifa called for Egypt to help counter Turkish support for Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.
Turkey has helped the Tripoli administration force Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) to abandon an offensive on Tripoli.


Any major escalation could risk igniting a direct conflict in Libya among the foreign powers that have already poured in weapons and fighters in violation of an arms embargo.
In response to Turkish actions, El-Sisi last month warned that Egypt’s army might enter Libya if the Tripoli government and its Turkish allies renewed an assault on Sirte, a central coastal city seen as the gateway to Libya’s main oil export terminals.
Libyan tribal leaders flew on Wednesday to Cairo from the eastern city of Benghazi, the main LNA base, for a meeting with El-Sisi entitled “Egypt and Libya, one people, one fate.” Haftar enjoys the backing of tribes mainly from east but also former LNA strongholds like Tarhouna in western Libya.
On the flight some tribesmen were chanting “El-Sisi” and “Haftar,” a video posted online showed.
El-Sisi said at the meeting Egypt’s main goal in Libya was to “activate the free will of the Libyan people,” a presidency statement said. It also published pictures showing El-Sisi sitting next to tribal leaders, all wearing masks against coronavirus.
In June El-Sisi said Egypt could act militarily in Egypt either if the House of Representatives requested this, or simply based on the UN charter of a right of self-defense.
Eastern tribes and other factions allied to Haftar have also been involved in closure of oil ports since January. The LNA says the tribes act on their own but analysts say their activity in Haftar-controlled territory is coordinated with the LNA.
Sirte is held by the LNA and the last major western city before the historic dividing line with the east, now controlled by Haftar, two regions that were united with the south at Libya’s independence in 1951.