Covid-19 infections reach new peak in Middle East but rate of increase is slowing

Record numbers of Covid-19 infections have been reported in the Middle East and North Africa this week — for the third week running. However, this week’s increase is smaller than in the previous two weeks, suggesting the sudden spike caused by the Omicron variant may not last very long.

Official figures show just over a million new cases during the last seven days — a daily average of 154,694. This is more than double the previous peak, in August last year, when the daily average briefly topped 73,000.

Following the August peak, new infections fell steadily for 15 consecutive weeks, reaching a low point of just under 12,000 cases a day in mid-December, before starting to rise again towards the end of the month. Since then, they have soared to unprecedented levels.

Region-wide, the biggest rise came in the second week of January — a 174% increase on the previous week. The following week showed a 108% rise and this week’s overall rise is only 59%.

Among the 20 countries monitored, nine reported week-on-week increases of more than 100% during the second week of January, but this week only four countries — Algeria, Iran, Libya and Palestine — did so. Five countries — Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and the UAE — even reported small decreases this week.

See spreadsheet for more detailed statistics of new cases and deaths across the region.

Originally published at




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

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Brian Whitaker

Brian Whitaker

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

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