Coronavirus cases are surging in some Middle Eastern countries that had previously recorded some of the lowest numbers of pandemic cases in the world.
The last week has seen a series of record new cases in Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.
Israel: Israel, which is tightening lockdown restrictions Friday, identified a record number of cases in a day Thursday.
Lebanon: Lebanon also hit a new record of 1,027 daily cases Thursday. Authorities in the capital of Beirut have recently shied away from putting a lockdown in place to slow the spread of the virus. A proactive and strict lockdown during the pandemic’s first wave in Lebanon kept an outbreak at bay, but it tipped the already fragile economy over the edge, causing poverty rates to soar and the Lebanese pound to tank.
The United Arab Emirates: The UAE recorded its highest daily total of new cases this week, but has loosened some of its restrictions on entry permits to the country.
Bahrain: The island kingdom of Bahrain has the highest number of active virus cases per million people in the Arab world, according to a tweet by the American University of Beirut’s Global Health Institute. Lebanon ranks second with 2,628 active cases per million.
Saudi Arabia: The spread of confirmed virus cases in Saudi Arabia has slowed significantly over the last month. The kingdom has identified between 483 and 643 new daily cases in the last two weeks. At the peak of Saudi Arabia's outbreak, authorities had been recording nearly 5,000 new cases each day.
Qatar and Egypt have also seen a dramatic drop in new virus cases.