• Users Online: 427
  • Print this page
  • Email this page


 
 
Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 239-243

A comparative study of coronavirus cases in gulf cooperation council countries


Department of Health Informatics, Saud Electronic University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission30-Nov-2020
Date of Decision08-Dec-2020
Date of Acceptance16-Jan-2021
Date of Web Publication08-Apr-2021

Correspondence Address:
Rafiuddin Mohammed
Department of Health Informatics, College of Health Sciences, Saudi Electronic University, PO Box: 93499, Riyadh 11673
Saudi Arabia
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jnsm.jnsm_151_20

Rights and Permissions
  Abstract 


Objectives: The first outbreak of COVID-19 was recognized in early March in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and then accelerated at an exponential rate within a short period. The present study objective is to evaluate the prevalence of COVID-19 in GCC countries. Methods: Six countries are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman included in the study. Six parameters of COVID-19 data were collected from various dashboards. Data analyses of all parameters were expressed in frequencies and percentages. Results: The highest number of cases was reported in Saudi Arabia (347,282) and least in Bahrain (81,466). The cases in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain have been reported a decrease, while the UAE and Oman reported an increase in the month of October. The recovery rates in Qatar (97.76%) and the UAE (97.19%) showed highest. Saudi Arabia and Oman showed the highest death rate (1.56% and 1.06%), while Qatar lowest death rate (0.18%). Critical cases are more in Saudi Arabia (0.22%). Oman showed the highest number of active cases (8.88%). The highest percentage of COVID-19 infection rates are in Bahrain (4.75%) and Qatar (4.72%). The UAE (132.77%) and Bahrain (101.24%) reported the highest COVID-19-tested percentage, while Oman (7.32%) had the least in their given population. Conclusions: The status of COVID-19 in the UAE and Oman showed a slight increase in the cases. The overall outcomes represent the status of COVID-19 in GCC countries reliably under control. The strategies used by these countries played an extremely important role in preventing higher death rate and spread of the virus.

Keywords: Active cases, COVID-19, critical cases, Gulf Cooperation Council, infection rate, recovery


How to cite this article:
Mohammed R. A comparative study of coronavirus cases in gulf cooperation council countries. J Nat Sci Med 2021;4:239-43

How to cite this URL:
Mohammed R. A comparative study of coronavirus cases in gulf cooperation council countries. J Nat Sci Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Sep 20];4:239-43. Available from: https://www.jnsmonline.org/text.asp?2021/4/3/239/313784




  Introduction Top


The coronavirus rapidly increased worldwide initially within the span of 2 to 4 months in different countries affecting population of all ages and gender continuously escalating daily which is a global threat to the human population.[1] Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic with 52, 852, 674 cases and 1,295,328-confirmed deaths were reported in 220 countries and territories.[2] These numbers of cases vary due to differences in epidemiological surveillance and testing capacities between the countries. Nevertheless, the disease has spread all over the world. The COVID-19 cases have disturbed many health-care systems around the globe and every day are under tremendous pressure.[3] Currently, there is no particular treatment or vaccine determined for COVID-19 virus. Therefore, it is essential to develop effective planning of the health infrastructure including various health services to stop the rate of disease spread as much as possible.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries comprising six countries are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman in the Middle East are no exception from the coronavirus disease. The first outbreak of COVID-19 was recognized in early March in GCC countries and then accelerated at an exponential rate within the short period.[4],[5],[6] Many of these countries' governments and their ministries of health have been intervened in an early stage to halt the spread of the coronavirus prior to detecting the first case. One such potential measure is travel bans to control an epidemic disease which was enforced in all gulf countries at different times. Travel banning was an effective public health tool to control the spread and was enforced in many countries globally. Further, GCC countries have managed timely decisions measures taken such as country lockdown, closure of schools, and universities including public places, suspension of national and international flights, mass testing program, and availability of intensive care capacity in hospitals.[7],[8]

An extensive review of literature in the field of COVID-19 in GCC countries resulted in one publication with a minimum of 4-month data.[6] Therefore, the present study aims to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 cases of 8-month data in GCC countries. In addition, it intends to evaluate the number of deaths, recovered, active, critical cases, and the number of tests performed.


  Methods Top


The study included data of GCC countries comprising six countries are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman. The data in the present study were collected for 8 months from March 1, 2020, to October 31, 2020. All COVID-19 cases, deaths, and recovery of monthly distribution were extracted from Coronavirus Pandemic Count Map (COVID-19) for the Cooperation Council for the Arab Countries of the Gulf (GCC).[9] The cases were double checked and compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus dashboard for exact values of the data.[10] The other elements such as active and critical cases and number of tests performed were extracted from the worldometer COVID-19 dashboard.[11] Ethical approval for this study was waived by the Saudi Electronic University Research Ethics Committee because this study does not involve the participants' consent and the data were aggregated from the COVID-19 dashboard web domains. The analyzed data were expressed in frequencies and percentages.


  Results Top


The prevalence of COVID-19 disease of six countries of GCC is shown in [Table 1]. The highest number of cases was reported in Saudi Arabia (347,282) and least cases were reported in Bahrain (81,466). The highest percentage of COVID 19 cases was reported in the month of June (30.40%) in Saudi Arabia, May (32.82%) in Qatar, May (18.28%) in Kuwait, September (23.14%) in Bahrain, October (28.98%) in the UAE, and July (34.25%) in Oman. Currently, the cases in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain have been reported a decrease, while UAE and Oman reported an increase in the number of cases in the month of October compared to the previous month [Table 2].
Table 1: Covid-19 cases in Gulf Cooperation Council countries

Click here to view
Table 2: Cumulative cases and percentage of monthly distribution of Covid-19 cases in Gulf Cooperation Council countries

Click here to view


The recovery rate is above 95% in four countries of GCC. Qatar and the UAE showed the highest recovery rate which is 97.76% and 97.19%, respectively. Oman showed the least recovery rate (90.06%) compared with other neighboring countries [Figure 1]. Saudi Arabia and Oman showed the highest death rate (1.56% and 1.06%), while Qatar showed the lowest death rate which is 0.18%. Critical cases are more in Saudi Arabia (0.22%) and least in Bahrain (0.02%). Oman reported the highest number of active cases (8.88%), while Qatar (2.07%) showed the least active cases [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Percentage of Covid-19 comparison of recovery, death, active and critical cases in GCC countries

Click here to view


Bahrain (4.75%) and Qatar (4.72%) showed the highest percentage of COVID-19 infection rate in the given total population, whereas Saudi Arabia reported the least infection rate which is approximately 1% [Figure 2]. The UAE (132.77%) and Bahrain (101.24%) of COVID-19 reported the highest tested percentage in their given population, while Oman (7.32%) had the least tested percentage in their population [Figure 3].
Figure 2: Percentage of COVID-19 infection in the given total population

Click here to view
Figure 3: Percentage of COVID-19 tests performed in Gulf Cooperation Council countries

Click here to view



  Discussion Top


After the initial outbreak of the COVID-19, the nature of the disease transmission routes and its death remains obscured at the beginning. Nevertheless, the disease abruptly spread in GCC countries within a short period. The present study emphasizes the prevalence of COVID 19 cases in GCC countries prominently for assessment with appropriate preventive measures in controlling further second outbreak of the virus.

In the current study, the highest number of cases was reported in Saudi Arabia (37.1%) and the least in Bahrain (8.72%) compared to other countries within GCC [Table 1]. The spike of increase cases showed in the month of May, June, and July in all GCC countries. Lack of compliance with precautionary measures such as social distancing, easing of restrictions after the lockdown, and less committed to wearing masks in public places are some of the factors in exponential rise of cases.[12],[13],[14] Interestingly, in the UAE and Oman, the study showed an increase number of cases in the month of October compared to previous months. This is a possible indication of the beginning of the second wave in these two countries. The inclination in cases associated to travel related, unacceptable behaviors, and failure to correctly follow coronavirus guidelines and measures.[15],[16]

The study reported recovery rate is above 90% in all the countries of GCC. Among it, Qatar and the UAE represent (97%) of the highest recovery rate [Figure 1]. When comparing the mortality rate, Saudi Arabia and Oman showed the highest death rate (1.56% and 1.06%), while Qatar showed the lowest death rate which is 0.18%. Overall, the gulf countries' fatality rate is low in comparison to the top COVID-19 afflicted countries such as the USA, China, Italy, India, and Spain.[7] According to the Deep Knowledge Group, the UAE (11), Saudi Arabia (15), Kuwait (21), Bahrain (23), and Oman (33) rank as the safest countries in the world of COVID-19.[17] The high recovery rates of COVID-19 in GCC countries put it in the limelight in global countries. In addition, the recovery rates in GCC are significantly higher than the global average.[18] These recovery rates have been the efforts of the various national taskforces of individual GCC countries in combating coronavirus to highlight measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Different international agencies such as the WHO, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control praised the efforts taken by GCC countries in controlling the virus.[18] The critical cases in GCC countries are below 0.25% which is a good indication of the treatment adopted by the GCC Ministries of Health. The Ministry of Health was able to handle the pandemic successfully in managing and containing COVID-19 to date, with the existing plans and strategies that were developed during previous Middle East Respiratory Syndrome disease outbreaks. Moreover, protocols and guidelines were adopted based on the latest scientific evidence and recommendations from the WHO and these guidelines were updated on a regular basis once the evidence was available. In addition, mass testing, treating cases at early stages, younger age of population, and availability of intensive care capacity in hospitals and allocating additional funding for the health-care sector are possible factors for the low death rate reported.[19],[20],[21],[22]

The current study reported the highest percentage of COVID-19 infection rate per capita in Bahrain (4.75%) and Qatar (4.72%), whereas Saudi Arabia reported the least infection rate which is approximately 1%. In these two countries of GCC, COVID-19 epidemics initially unnoticed in the labor camps. In the camps, most of the migrants are from Asia and live together with more than a dozen fellow mates in a single room. These living conditions likely make the laborers more susceptible at risk of contracting the virus. In addition, those testing positive showed no symptoms at all, calling into question the usefulness of mass temperature checks meant to stop the infected from mingling with others. Even though the infection rate is high, it maintains the mortality rate at low.[23] The present study noted that the UAE (132.77%) and Bahrain (101.24%) of COVID-19 reported the highest tested percentage in their given population, while Oman (7.32%) had the least tested percentage in their population [Figure 3]. GCC countries have gone to extensive lengths to ensure their population has access to testing. UAE and Bahrain have become the first two countries in the world with a testing rate for COVID-19.[18],[24] Possible factor for low testing rate because of the Ministry of Health in Oman stopped testing people with mild symptoms for coronavirus to free up medical staff to work with patients suffering from the virus in intensive care.[25] Medical experts say that government hospitals in Oman were overwhelmed with a large number of people asking for testing on a daily basis.[25]


  Conclusions Top


The present findings demonstrate that the status of COVID 19 cases in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain is under stable, whereas slide increases in the UAE and Oman are noted. Recovery rates have been reported above 95% in four countries of GCC. Bahrain and Qatar reported higher infection rates in the population. Saudi Arabia showed the highest, while Qatar showed the least in terms of mortality rate. The UAE reported the highest tested percentage in the given population, while Oman reported least. However, the overall outcomes in this study represent the status of COVID-19 in GCC countries reliably under control. The strategies used by these GCC countries such as mass screening, additional funding for the health-care sector, strict lockdown measures, and hefty fines played an extremely important role in slowing the death rate and spread of the virus.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
UK Research and Innovation. How fast is the New Coronavirus Spreading and How Can it be Stopped? 2020. Available from: https://coronavirusexplained.ukri.org/en/article/und0003/. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 10].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
The World Health Organization (WHO). Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) Pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO); 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 14].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Blumenthal D, Fowler EJ, Abrams M, Collins SR. Covid-19 – Implications for the health care system. N Engl J Med 2020;383:1483-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Algaissi AA, Alharbi NK, Hassanain M, Hashem AM. Preparedness and response to COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia: Building on MERS experience. J Infect Public Health 2020;13:834-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
El-Saharty, Sameh & Kheyfets, Igor & Herbst, Christopher & Ajwad, Mohamed. (2020). The GCC Countries' Responses to COVID-19. 10.1596/978-1-4648-1582-9_ch4. [https://doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-1582-9_ch4].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Alandijany TA, Faizo AA, Azhar EI. Coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Current status and management practices. J Infect Public Health 2020;13:839-42.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Alabdulkarim NA, Alsultan FB, Bashir S. Gulf countries responding to COVID-19. Dubai Med J 2020;3:58-60.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Shagufta P, Orfali R, Azam S, Aati HY, Bukhari K, Bukhari SI, et al. Coronavirus nCOVID-19: A pandemic disease and the Saudi precautions. Saudi Pharm J 2020;28:888-897.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
GCC-STAT. Coronavirus Pandemic Counts Map (COVID-19) for the Cooperation Council for The Arab Countries of The Gulf (GCC); 2020. Available from: https://geogcc.gccstat.org/portal/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/917d2690711b402192af82b7398e470c. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 31].  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
World Health Organization. WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://covid19.who.int/. [Last accessed on 2020 Oct 31].  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Worldometer. COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC; 2020. Available from: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 14].  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Arab News. Virus Cases set to Rise in Saudi Arabia, Warn Health Chiefs; 2020. Available from: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1757691/saudi-arabia. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 16].  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Arab News. Dubai Businesses Slapped with Fines over Non-Compliance with Coronavirus Measures; 2020. Available from: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1740231/middle-east. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 16].  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
GulfInsider. Bahrain: Negligence and Non-Compliance Led to Recent Rise in COVID-19 Cases; 2020. Available from: https://www.gulf-insider.com/bahrain-negligence-and-non-compliance-led-to-recent-rise-in-covid-19-cases/. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 16].  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Alarabiya. Unacceptable Behaviors' Caused Coronavirus Cases to Rise in Oman: Health Official; 2020. Available from: https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/07/07/-Unacceptable-behaviors-caused-coronavirus-cases-to-rise-in-Oman-Health-official. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 17].  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
The National News. Coronavirus: UAE Daily Case Numbers Rise again as Officials Urge Safety; 2020. Available from: https://www.thenationalnews.com/uae/health/coronavirus-uae-daily-case-numbers-rise-again-as-officials-urge-safety-1.1065712. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 17].  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Arabian Business. UAE among Safest Countries for Covid-19; 2020. Available from: https://www.arabianbusiness.com/healthcare/447904-uae-among-safest-countries-for-covid-19. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 17].  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Arab News. High COVID-19 Recovery Rates put GCC Region in the Limelight; 2020. Available from: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1733941/middle-east. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 17].  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Arabian Business. UAE, Saudi Arabia Keep Covid-19 Fatality Rate Below 1%; 2020. Available from: https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/446173-uae-saudi-arabia-keep-covid-19-fatality-rate-below-01. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 18].  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Xihuanet. Saudi Arabia COVID-19 Death Rate Far Below World Level: Health Minister; 2020. Available from: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2020-05/06/c_139035905.htm. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 18].  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Arab News. Coronavirus Crisis Changing Public Attitudes in the Middle East, Polls Suggest; 2020. Available from: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1672296/middle-east. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 18].  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
Arab News. Kuwait Says Low COVID-19 Mortality Rate due to Strong Treatment Protocols; 2020. Available from: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1753306/middle-east. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 18].  Back to cited text no. 22
    
23.
Alarabiya. Coronavirus: Qatar, Bahrain have Highest Global COVID-19 Infection Rate Per Capita; 2020. Available from: https://english.alarabiya.net/en/coronavirus/2020/07/23/Coronavirus-Qatar-Bahrain-have-highest-global-COVID-19-infection-rate-per-capita. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 18].  Back to cited text no. 23
    
24.
The Hindu. GCC Nations Lead in COVID-19 Testing; 2020. Available from: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/gcc-nations-lead-in-covid-19-testing/article32448128.ece. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 18].  Back to cited text no. 24
    
25.
The National News. Oman: Testing for Coronavirus Reduced; 2020. Available from: https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/gcc/oman-testing-for-coronavirus-reduced-1.1055388. [Last accessed on 2020 Nov 18].  Back to cited text no. 25
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

Top
 
  Search
 
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

 
  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Methods
Results
Discussion
Conclusions
References
Article Figures
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed488    
    Printed40    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded50    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal