ASG update: COVID-19 global progress and response

While the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in India is subsiding, countries in Latin America continue to struggle to contain outbreaks, reports Albright Stonebridge Group

By Omnia Health | 10 Jul 2021

Middle East & North AfricaGovernment Response: As expected, many countries across the region have gradually eased Covid-19 restrictions since the Eid holidays in mid-May. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which have some of the highest vaccination rates in the world, have largely opted to tie the lifting of restrictions to vaccinations. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have announced that they will limit the reopening of many public areas, such as restaurants, shopping malls, gyms, and cinemas, to vaccinated individuals.

In Bahrain and the UAE, this may be a response to spikes in cases in mid-May (though numbers have since declined). Israel – where nearly 60 percent of the population is fully vaccinated and new case numbers have fallen to their lowest levels since the pandemic began – ended its indoor mask mandate this week, lifting one of its few remaining public health restrictions. 

In contrast, countries across the rest of the region appear to be lifting restrictions regardless of vaccination rates or case numbers, in response to economic pressures. Egypt and Tunisia, for example, have both lifted many public health restrictions even though they have only vaccinated a fraction of their populations and continue to see high rates of new cases.