COVID-19 MENA Update
08.07.2020 - 22:00 CET
COVID-19 has certainly reflected on all businesses but resilience helped to ride the COVID-19 wave & adapt rapid changes. Governments have implemented policies to support businesses, such as halting rental property evictions and granting concessions in terms of visa fees and municipality fees.
Whilst there is almost absence of tourists due to the travel restrictions in the region, the decrease in tourists demand was somehow mitigated by the sizable portion of resident expats who have remained in their locations deferring from travelling back home and are generating domestic business traffic.
United Arab Emirates
Yesterday 7th July, Dubai officially welcomed its first tourists while adhering to safety standards and measure without mandatory quarantine unless travelers demonstrates symptoms and after running a confirmatory COVID test.
All arrivals must have travel insurance with COVID-19 medical cover, as well as proof of such coverage, or declare that they are willing to bear the cost of treatment and isolation if necessary. All passengers are expected to produce a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding flights to Dubai that is less than 96 hours old. Failing this, a PCR test is available on arrival and passengers must self-isolate until they receive the results of the test.
Additional positive sign that indicate improvements across the country, Dubai closed yesterday its largest field hospital after discharging its last coronavirus patient.
Meanwhile the country is continuing its mass testing program with 50000 PCR tests everyday over all 7 Emirates. The aim is to carry out another 2 million tests over the next two months.
Saudi Arabia has seen an uptick in both confirmed infections and deaths from the Covid-19 illness since easing movement restrictions in late May.
Amid tight restrictions to rein in the pandemic, Saudi Arabia would only allow around 1,000 pilgrimage travelers for Hajj this year vs 2.5 millions in 2019.
Qatar is one of the world's highest per-capita infection rates. Qatar didn’t impose strict lock down and have eased further controls allowing residents returning to normal daily activities and beaches.
Meanwhile Qatar Airways became local air corridor and becoming the world’s solution for repatriation connecting countries & continents.
Jordan has been able to contain the spread of COVID-19 and this has encouraged the country to ease lock down internally and to consider receiving tourists and patients. Jordan authorities announced a green list countries that will be approved entry to Jordan. To be entitled, countries needed to have conducted at least 30,000 COVID-19 tests for every one million citizens & they must have a similar coronavirus curve to Jordan.
Three weeks ago, authorities warned there had been a disturbing surge in infections in the last six weeks.
This reflected positively and urged people to comply with health measures which has been noticed with slump in number of new cases.
Oman began to introduce has gradually allowed commercial centres to reopen and lifted the lockdown in the Muscat region.
Air and land borders remain closed, except for repatriation flights.
Kuwait airport will reopen on 1st August, after an almost six-month closure to normal traffic.
The airport will be operating at 30 per cent capacity for six months and will not process more than 10,000 passengers and daily flights will not exceed 100.
Departing or arriving passengers must have approved coronavirus-free certification and arriving passengers must install the tracing app.
Bahrain is small country in size and population while number of cases where high per capita.
Government exerted tremendous efforts to control situation and have implemented the law firmly against whoever violates the health measures. Those who violate will be held accountable and face up to three years in prison and a fine of 25000$.
Restrictions were further eased on Wednesday, and Egypt’s airports opened for the first time since March and had 14 scheduled flights on Wednesday the 8th July. Several tourist sites also reopened for visitors including the pyramids and the Egyptian museum.
Authorities allowed more than 400 hotels at limited 50 percent occupancy rate to resume activities and exempted tourists for visa fees till October.
Already been confirmed tourists arriving from Switzerland and Belarus are expected to Hurghada and Sharm El-Sheikh this weekend.
Article by: Jamil Juma, Regional Manager MENA & CIS firstname.lastname@example.org
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