Middle East’s patchy response to COVID-19 shows that face masks will be important factor in region’s post-pandemic recovery, says GlobalData Following the news that amid rising COVID-19 cases in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, some countries are reintroducing restrictions, as others or opening up; Neha Bhatia, Oil & gas Editor at GlobalData’s MEED, offers her view: “The start-stop timeline of lockdowns to curb COVID-19 reiterates how flouting precautionary health measures can negatively affect the MENA region's economies in 2020 and beyond.
Several regional nations have relaunched outdoor movement restrictions to contain the virus after non-compliance with regulations on social distancing, mandatory quarantines and the use of face masks.
“Given the relative success of their regional neighbors such as the UAE and Jordan in curbing COVID-19’s spread, as well as the health risks posed by the illness, the medical case for the new lockdowns is clear.
The economic implications of having to impose these restrictions in the absence of compliance with health regulations are equally painful.
“An example of these fiscal risks is evident in Oman, which has had to implement significant budget cuts since April to mitigate the economic shocks of COVID-19 and low oil prices.
Revenues from three-star to five-star hotels also dropped by 51.
5% in Oman during H1 2020, which is a major setback for the country's aim to triple its tourism-led GDP by 2040.
“Similarly, public sector companies in Algeria have recorded more than $1bn in losses amid the pandemic, and the economic fallout of COVID-19 could raise the country’s unemployment rate to 15.
1% this year.
Oman and Algeria represent only a microcosm of the pandemic-related economic losses that countries in the Mena region are bracing for in 2020.
“However, regional fiscal conditions will likely worsen if precautionary measures continue to be flouted and uneven lockdowns remain necessary in the months ahead.