Containment of Covid-19 varies across the Middle East

15 September 2020 3 min. read

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Middle East has now reached well past 1 million, increasing in recent weeks with a corresponding spike in global cases.

The data comes from GE Healthcare’s Command Center, which on a daily basis publishes a digest of worldwide Covid-19, keeping track of contamination rates and fatality rates across all countries globally. The numbers tell a worrying story for the Middle East, specifically over the few days.

Since March, the Americas have been the most severely impacted regions with skyrocketing infection rates. While still far ahead of the rest, both regions have managed to bring infection rates under control in recent weeks. The Middle East, meanwhile, joins Europe and Asia in tracing a worryingly upward trajectory in infection rates.

New Confirmed Cases & New Deaths

An undulating curve since January had been gradually edging upwards in the Middle East up until July, when a promising downward trend began. Since the start of this month, however, infection rates in the region have spiked again, reintroducing the strain on health services. No doubt, each market has had its own containment strategy, and the numbers vary by country.

The most recent spike, for instance, has been driven by Bahrain and Israel – which have more new daily cases in the last two weeks than any country in the Middle East or Europe. GE Healthcare’s measurement for daily infection rate is taken against every 1 million of the population.

Bahrain has recorded more than 300 per million on average each day for the last two weeks, while Israel has fallen just short of 300. The two countries far exceed Spain – which has the third highest daily infection rate over the last two weeks at nearly 200 per million. Kuwait is also among the currently infectious territories at more than 160 daily cases per million.

New daily cases per million in Europe and the Middle East,

Iraq has also had well over 100 per million in the last two weeks, while Qatar stands at nearly 80 cases. In the mix from Europe are Moldova – with more than 100 – as well as Bosnia & Hezegovina and Romania. In the Middle East, Iraq, Qatar and Israel are also at the upper end of the spectrum when it comes to total confirmed cases since January.

Iran leads this list with nearly 400,000 confirmed cases, followed by Iraq with around 280,000. Israel follows with more than 145,000, while Qatar has recorded just over 120,000 cases since the start of the year. Kuwait falls below the 100,000 threshold, while Oman has registered just short of 90,000. The UAE follows with short of 80,000 confirmed cases.

Each of these countries features in the top 50 around the world when it comes to cases and fatalities, as measured by GE Healthcare. Other key markets from the region such as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Bahrain fortunately don’t make an appearance on this list. That being said, the pandemic is far from over, and there are worrying trends unfolding both in the Middle East and around the world.Global cases have doubled in the last two monthsThe data paints a dire picture for the global outlook, highlighting that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 across the world has doubled in just the last two months, now exceeding 28 million worldwide. Although this is a lower doubling rate than earlier in the year, the curve still runs steeply upwards since January.

The US currently stands atop the list with more than 6 million confirmed cases and nearly 200,000 fatalities. Brazil and India are also having a tough time containing the virus, with well over 4 million cases in each country, and fatalities of 130,000 and 76,000 respectively. Other troubled markets – but to a far lesser extent – are Mexico, the UK, Italy and France.