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.
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.
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.
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.
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.