Middle East and North Africa Coronavirus Update

Apr 15, 2020

As of 14 April 2020, governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are continuing to enforce restrictions on movement in the area. Additionally, the governments of Kuwait and Bahrain are working to repatriate their citizens overseas.

In Bahrain, on 13 April officials stated that the national air carrier Gulf Air has started operating direct flights between Bahrain and Iran in an effort to repatriate Bahraini nationals currently stranded in Iran. Officials did not provide details on the flights, but Gulf Air has conducted similar flights to repatriate Bahraini nationals from Egypt, Oman, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

In Israel, officials deployed 9,000 additional police officers to enforce a curfew during the end of the Passover holiday, which began at 1700 local time (1400 UTC) and will last until 16 April. Security forces have set up at least 44 checkpoints between Israeli cities to prevent inter-city travel, and patrols will also be increased within cities to enforce social distancing.

In Kuwait, on 13 April officials announced that they will begin repatriating Kuwaiti citizens who are abroad beginning on 19 April. There are approximately 50,000 Kuwaiti nationals living overseas, and Kuwaiti authorities are planning for a phased return of Kuwaiti nationals currently abroad. During the first phase from 19- 21 April, officials will help repatriate Kuwaitis located in Egypt, Turkey, and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). During the second phase from 23 April to 7 May, officials will repatriate Kuwaiti nationals located elsewhere in the world.

In Sudan, on 13 April officials announced a three-week lockdown for Khartoum state, which encompasses the capital city Khartoum and the city of Omdurman; the order will go into effect on 18 April. During the lockdown period, grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses will be allowed to operate during specific hours; authorities stated that they will announce further details regarding the order in the coming days. A nationwide curfew has been in place across Sudan since 24 March and all long-distance public transportation within the country has been suspended since 26 March.

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