Saudi Arabia reported a jump of almost a quarter in coronavirus cases on Sunday while the United Arab Emirates pumped more money into its economy as its state-owned carrier Emirates said it would halt almost all passenger flights.
Saudi Arabia recorded 119 new cases of the virus for a total of 511, the highest in the Gulf Arab region, the Health Ministry said.
The tally of cases in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council now stands at more than 1,700. Bahrain reported a second death on Sunday, a citizen evacuated from Iran, taking the GCC’s total to four.
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have taken some of the most drastic steps including halting international flights, suspending work at most institutions and closing public venues.
Gulf governments have announced stimulus packages to shield their energy-producing economies, which have also been hit by a collapse in oil prices.
The emir of Kuwait, which has imposed a partial nationwide curfew, said the government must to spare no expense or effort to fight the virus.
The UAE, the region’s tourism and business hub, approved an additional 16 billion dirhams on Sunday for a total stimulus package of 126 billion dirhams.