Coronavirus in the Middle East: a testing time for relations between regimes and their citizens

As Covid-19 continues to spread in the Middle East, Arab governments increasingly blame the public for failing to comply with preventive measures. The roots of this problem lie in the uneasy relationship between autocratic regimes and the people they govern — a relationship that is likely to come under further strain as the economic costs of the pandemic become more apparent.

Police checking a vehicle during the lockdown in Jordan. Photo: Xinhua

Flouting the rules

Unable to comply

Social “distancing” on public transport in Egypt

Preventive measures

Technology to the rescue?

An example of the “smart” wristband used in Bahrain

Hiding the virus

Yemen: Freshly-dug graves in al-Radwan cemetery, Aden, at the height of the city’s epidemic

Eradication versus coexistence

Judging the regimes

The UAE appointed Ohood bint Khalfan Roumi as the world’s first Minister for Happiness

Reassurance is dangerous

Former Middle East editor of the Guardian. Website: Author of 'Arabs Without God'.

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