In the past few weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has rapidly escalated to becoming a potential pandemic, affecting over 80,000 people around the world, and taking the lives of almost 3000 people.
Countries around the world - and across the Midde East - are taking all the precautionary measures they can to try and contain the virus. And the World Health Organisation is focusing efforts to prevent it from spreading in the region.
1. Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended all religious visits.
Putting a halt on the kingdom's biggest touristic attraction, Saudi Arabia announced today the temporary suspension of all religious visas (that enter to visit Makkah for pilgrimage or Al Madina). The measure was taken to ensure the safety of pilgrims. Saudi Arabia has also suspended all tourist visas from countries with confirmed outbreaks of the coronavirus.
2. Iraq has banned all public gatherings - including cinemas, cafes, clubs - and suspended schools and universities temporarily.
The ban on public gatherings was announced earlier today and is set to last until March 7. The country has also banned travellers from Kuwait and Bahrain from entry, adding to the already long list of country bans, which include China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Italy.
3. Iran bans Friday prayers in multiple municipalities.
Iran was hit the hardest in the region, with 22 deaths so far and concerns over the government's transparency in terms of the number of those affected. Local authorities in Qom, Tehran, Gilan and Markazi, have ordered the closure of all educational and cultural institutions, suspended congregational prayers in mosques and shrines, and canceled all conferences and workshops for at least one week.
4. The UAE is building a special medical facility for the treatment of patients with coronavirus, and has closed schools for 4 weeks.
A week after the cases in the country hiked up to 13, senior health officials said they are working on building a site to provide all the necessary equipment and medical expertise to treat patients over a 14-day quarantine period. On March 3, the country announced the closure of schools for 4 weeks. Spring break, which was due to begin on March 29, will instead begin on March 8 and last two weeks. Afterwards, distance learning will be implemented, teaching allowing students to learn and study from home.
5. Kuwait has suspended schools and universities for two weeks.
The number of coronavirus infections in Kuwait rose to 26 cases, leading to authorities' suspension of schools, and all flights to Iran.
6. Gulf states are suspending more and more flights.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has suspended all flights to and from Iran apart from Tehran. Bahrain has suspended all flights to and from Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE until further notice. And Oman, Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia have already suspended flights to Iran after cases there.
Main image courtesy of Getty Images.