Coronavirus infections in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia exceeded 200,000 people and the neighboring United Arab Emirates 50,000, with the number of new cases increasing after the two largest economies in the Arab world lifted the curfew completely last month.
Restrictions have been in effect in both countries since mid-March, and their gradual lifting has allowed the reopening of businesses and public spaces.
Other Gulf states also moved to ease restrictions, although Kuwait maintained a partial curfew and Qatar, Bahrain and Oman imposed no ban at all.
Saudi Arabia, which has the largest number among the six Gulf states, reported more than 4,100 cases on Friday and Saturday, bringing the total number to 205,929, with 1,858 deaths. The daily number first rose above 4,000 in mid-June, but fell.
The United Arab Emirates, where daily infection rates recently fell to between 300 and 400 from a peak of about 900 in late May, recorded more than 600 cases on Friday and more than 700 on Saturday, raising the death toll to 50,857, with 321 deaths .
Dubai, the region’s business and tourism center, is scheduled to reopen to foreign visitors on July 7, although this has not been implemented at a federal level in the United Arab Emirates, which does not provide details for each of its seven emirates.
Qatar, which has the second highest rate of infection in the region, witnessed its daily case numbers drop from a peak that exceeded 2000 in late May to about 500 on Saturday, bringing to nearly 100,000 cases in total.
In Amman, the Minister of Health warned on Thursday of an upsetting increase in injuries in the past six weeks and urged people to comply with health measures.
Iran, the epicenter of the disease in the Middle East, with a total number of infections of 237,878 deaths and 11,408 as of Saturday, imposed new restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.