GULF IN REVIEW
29 March - 03 April 2020
Arnold Koka and Veronica Del Torre
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 31 March — The Supreme Council of Women (SCW) launched “Together for Bahrain’s Safety”, a nation-wide campaign to combat Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and restore live normalcy. The volunteers will provide Bahraini women and their families with urgent aid, services, legal consultancy and economic support.
Wednesday, 1 April — The Director-General of Civil Defence, Colonel Ali Mohamed Saad Alhooti, announced the start of the Bahraini disinfection programme, involving around 320 individuals, as part the government’s precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Thursday, 2 April — Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, announced the decision to allow husbands whose wives participate in combating COVID-19 to work from home. The decision aims to maintain families’ social and economic stability throughout this crisis.
State of Kuwait
Sunday, 29 March — Kuwait strongly condemned the Houthis’ ballistic missiles attack on Saudi Arabia’s cities of Riyadh and Jazan and fully support the Kingdom in all the measures taken. The attacks, that violated international law and came at the time of the world efforts to fight coronavirus (COVID-19), pose at risk not only the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but the security and stability of the whole Gulf region.
Thursday, 2 April — Kuwait’s Central Bank announced a stimulus package to support key sectors and small and medium enterprises during the COVID-19 crisis, it will include local banks offering soft long-term loans or easing loan repayments for the affected companies.
Thursday, 2 April — The agency Moody’s Investors Service placed Kuwait on review for a downgrade of its credit rating. Kuwait’s review, that lowered Kuwait’s ability to repay its debt, is due to the decline in revenue caused by the oil crisis and the financial measures to combat Coronavirus pandemic.
Sultanate of Oman
Sunday, 29 March — The Oman Technology Fund allocated 1 million Omani Riyals for investment in expansion projects to Omani technology companies focusing on applications and electronic platforms to provide people technical solutions to facilitate the practice of social distancing amid COVID-19.
Tuesday, 31 March—Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq issued a Royal Decree No. 42/2020, promulgating the Tax Institution System and approving its organisational structure.
Wednesday, 01 April — Oman’s Ministry of Health announced the first death due to COVID-19 in the country. The Sultanate has reported a total of 231 infected and 57 recovered cases as of 03 April.
State of Qatar
Wednesday, 1 April—Yemen’s Minister of Information, Muammar Al-Eryani, accused Qatar and Al-Jazeera, the Qatari state-funded broadcaster, from politically and medially supporting the Iran-backed Houthis. He called on Doha to distance itself from the “Iranian project in Yemen” and reevaluate its policies towards Yemen.
Friday, 3 April — Ambassador Mohammed Al-Emadi announced that the Qatar Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, in cooperation with the Qatar Fund for Development, will provide $150 million (USD) to finance the employment of 100 medical personnel in the Gaza Strip for six months to cover the shortfall of personnel addressing the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Monday, 30 March — King Salman ordered provisions of free treatment to be provided to all COVID-19 patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia. The order includes all residents as well as violators of the residency, labour and border security regulation who resulted positive to the new Coronavirus, exempting them from any legal consequences.
Monday, 30 March — The Saudi-led Coalition conducted a series of airstrikes against the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen in response to the ballistic missiles attacks by the Houthis against Riyadh and other Saudi cities the previous week despite officially welcoming the United Nations call for a truce in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The missiles were intercepted by the Royal Saudi Air Force and the International Coalition.
Wednesday, 01 April — Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved the formation of the Supreme Committee for Energy Mix Affairs for Electricity Production and Enabling Renewable Energy Sector chaired by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Thursday, 02 April — Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and the United States’ President, Donald Trump, discussed the current situation in the global energy market over a phone. Following the discussion, the US President said he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut crude oil production by 10-15 million barrels per day. Saudi Arabia then called for an urgent meeting of the OPEC+ (the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries and other oil exporters) to review ways to stabilise the global energy markets. On 01 April, Saudi Arabia boosted its oil output to a record of over 12 million barrels per day.
Thursday, 02 April — The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development allocated SR17 billion ($4.5 billion) to deal with the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to support the private sector, economic growth and employment in the country.
United Arab Emirates
Monday, 30 March — The Crown Prince of Dubai, Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum, announced the creation of a new center for diseases and epidemic, called “The Disease and Epidemic Control Centre”, staffed by representatives from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) and other authorities, that will be tasked with addressing strategies to face pandemics and will develop a rapid intervention plan against the COVID-19 spread. The UAE has registered a total number of 1024 Coronavirus cases as of 03 April.
Thursday, 02 April — UAE’s Minister of Economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansouri, chaired an extraordinary virtual meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Ministers of Commerce and the GCC Secretary General, Dr Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf, discussing the economic impact of COVID-19, ways to support the private sector, GCC countries’ precautionary measures to combat the disease and ensuring smooth flow of basic food, medicine and medical supplies among GCC states.
Thursday, 02 April — The UAE delivered medical supplies to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to support the country’s efforts to contain the spread and the effects of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) that has led to 2450 officially reported cases in Pakistan as of 03 April.