Coronavirus infections have exceeded 200,000 in Saudi Arabia and 50,000 in the neighboring United Arab Emirates. The number of new cases rose after the two largest economies in the Arab world completely lifted curfews last month.
Restrictions have been in place in both countries since mid-March, and their gradual lifting has allowed commercial and public institutions to reopen.
Other Gulf states have also tried to relax the restrictions, although Kuwait has maintained a partial curfew and Qatar, Bahrain and Oman have not imposed any at all.
Saudi Arabia, which has the highest number of the six Gulf states, reported more than 4,100 cases on Friday and Saturday, reaching a total of 205,929 cases with 1,858 deaths. The daily number rose to over 4,000 for the first time in mid-June, but had fallen.
In the United Arab Emirates, where daily infection rates have recently dropped from a peak of 900 to 300-400 at the end of May, more than 600 cases were registered on Friday and over 700 cases on Saturday, representing 50,857 deaths with 321 deaths.
Dubai, the region's business and tourism center, is slated to reopen to foreign visitors on July 7th. However, this was not implemented at the federal level in the UAE, as a breakdown of the cases is not available for each of the seven Emirates.
In Qatar, which has the second highest regional infection rate, the number of daily cases dropped from a peak of more than 2,000 at the end of May to around 500 on Saturday, which corresponds to a total of almost 100,000 cases.
In Oman, the health minister warned Thursday that there has been a disturbing increase in infections in the past six weeks and urged people to adhere to health measures.
Iran, the epicenter of the Middle East disease with a total infection rate of 237,878 and 11,408 deaths on Saturday, has introduced new restrictions to stop the virus from spreading.
(Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous; editing by Alexander Smith)
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)