Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf sets up joint operations room to combat COVID-19
The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), has agreed to establish a joint operations room in an effort to coordinate the regional response to the coronavirus, COVID-19.
Health ministers from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar held an online meeting with council secretary general Nayef Al Hajraf to share experiences of how each member state has been handling and containing the spread of the novel coronavirus, along with the latest data, statistics and level of preparedness.
As a result, the joint operations room will see the health deputy ministers work together to coordinate efforts in preventing further spread of the virus. They will meet weekly to exchange information as well as agree on plans of action.
Meanwhile, the Gulf Health Council, in coordination with the region’s Ministries of Health, will issue a daily report on confirmed cases of COVID-19, their source, and the precautionary measures that have been put into place.
WHY IT MATTERS
At the time of publishing, the World Health Organization has confirmed a total of 179,100 cases globally, with China, Italy and Iran being the top three countries worst affected by the pandemic.
Looking at the GCC member states, Qatar leads the number of confirmed cases at 337, followed by Bahrain (214), Kuwait (112), KSA (103), the UAE (98), and Oman (22). No deaths have been recorded.
In the wider MENA region, 742 deaths have been reported, with confirmed cases in Iran as mentioned above (724 deaths), Iraq (124 cases; 9 deaths), Egypt (110 cases; 2 deaths), Lebanon (99 cases; 3 deaths), Algeria (49 cases; 3 deaths), Palestine (38), Morocco (28 cases; one death), Tunisia (18), Jordan (6), and Turkey (5).
ON THE RECORD
In a statement, the ministers urged “citizens and residents of the GCC States to apply infection control standards, avoid going to gathering places as much as possible, and maintain preventive safety measures followed in such cases,” adding that the public should obtain news and information from “official sources and not being drawn into rumours and unofficial social media accounts”.
It also praised the “tremendous efforts made by health-sector employees in the GCC States, and their tangible contributions to curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus”.