Covid-19 in the Middle East: situation report for week ending 8 August

Brian Whitaker
14 min readAug 8, 2020


New Covid-19 cases in the Middle East and North Africa over the last three months. Seven-day rolling average, day by day.

In the Middle East and North Africa the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be slowly subsiding. A month ago, new infections across the region were running at almost 16,000 a day. Since then, the seven-day daily average has fallen during each of the last four weeks and now stands at 12,357.

This week 12 of the 20 countries monitored have reported a lower number of new infections than in the week before. Egypt has seen a particularly sharp decrease according to the official figures.

That said, Iran and Iraq continue to report well over 2,000 new infections every day and show no real sign of improvement. Saudi Arabia and Israel also averaged more than 1,400 a day during the past week, though their numbers are declining.

Morocco had an especially bad week, while Lebanon and Syria also reported record numbers of new cases.

Detailed statistics for the region, based on official figures, can be found in this spreadsheet.

Previous situation reports: August 1; July 25; July 18; July 11; July 4; June 27; June 20.


New infections in Algeria increased substantially in June and July, though the numbers have gone down slightly since then. Official figures show new cases averaged 537 a day during past week compared with 621 a day at the end of July.

A night curfew (8pm to 5am) in 29 wilayas (administrative districts) including the capital, Algiers, is expected to continue until August 12. Road traffic in and out of these districts is also restricted.

On Monday, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said the government “is reviewing the possibility to reopen mosques, beaches and other places for recreation and relaxation for the public.” However, the authorities have stressed that this will not signal the end of the epidemic and precautions such as social distancing and wearing of masks will still be necessary.

Protests have been reported in Polisario-run camps in south-western Algeria. The protesters are said to be complaining about lack of compensation for lost income during the lockdown but also about corruption within the Polisario…

Brian Whitaker

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