In a bid to curb the spread of deadly Coronavirus, Saudi Arabia has shuttered its public spaces on March 15 and reportedly announced a pause in most government operations. On the other hand, Qatar and Oman have reportedly imposed entry restrictions as Gulf states took drastic steps to contain the spread of virus and support their economies. According to the reports, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar reported new cases taking the total tally in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to 963, with no fatalities reported.
As per the reports, Saudi Arabia has reported 15 new COVID-19 cases taking the total confirmed cases to 118. Local authorities reportedly tweeted directives for the closure of malls, restaurants, coffee shops and public parks, while exempting supermarkets, pharmacies and food delivery. State-led media said that the measures would be applicable all over the country.
Meanwhile, Qatar has reported 401 cases and reportedly said that it would ban non-Qatari passengers from entering the country for two weeks starting on Wednesday. It announced preventive measures to protect its economy. As per the reports, Oman has also suspended Friday prayers, social events such as weddings and ordered to close public parks.
As the deadly Coronavirus outbreak continues to force countries to take precautionary measures, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have poured more than $46 billion to fight the impact of the pandemic on the economy. According to reports, the UAE central bank said in a statement on March 15 that it has pledged $27 billion in bank measures to support the businesses in the Emirates during the outbreak. However, despite the stimulus package, the stock exchange was down by more than four per cent early in the session before deducting the losses by 50 per cent.
Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry has announced on March 14 that the kingdom's government has decided to suspend all international flights for 14 days starting from March 15. Amid the unprecedented outbreak of deadly Coronavirus, governments around the world have decided to halt international flights in order to contain the spread which has already reached more than 140 countries. This announcement of Saudi Arabia came just a week after an industry body warned that the airline industry could lose up to USD 113 billion in revenue in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19 outbreak.
(With Agency Inputs)