Halt in tourism due to coronavirus shrink’s Mideast economies 

DUBAI: Egypt’s non-oil private sector activity collapsed in April, hit by a shutdown in the tourism industry, weakening demand and the imposition of a curfew as the government battled the new coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) – based on the health of more than 40 global economies – for the non-oil private sector came in at 29.7 last month, down from 44.2 in March and far below the 50.0 threshold that separates growth from contraction. It was the lowest reading since the survey began nine years ago. The measurement is based on a number of factors, including each country’s GDP, employment levels, rate of inflation, and exports. 

Meanwhile, Dubai’s Expo 2020 world’s fair announced it will be postponed to Oct. 1, 2021, as the coronavirus pandemic continues, the Bureau International des Expositions said. 

The skyscraper-studded city won the rights to host the event in 2013. That helped boost Dubai’s crucial real-estate market and had officials hoping for more tourists.

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector also shrank for the second consecutive month in April and its output hit a record low as lockdowns and business closures to tackle the new coronavirus hammered the economy, a survey showed on Tuesday.

Tuesday (GMT times)

18:05 – France’s health ministry says total coronavirus death toll in hospitals and nursing homes has risen to 25,531 from 25,201 on Monday.

17:20 – In the coronavirus-hit parts of Pakistan, funeral rituals have dramatically changed with many people not able to say goodbye to their loved ones or keep a memento – especially as their posessions are disinfected and then burnt. FULL STORY HERE.

16:45 – A glimmer of hope for sport fans, perhaps?

16:05 – The number of people who have died from COVID-19 in Turkey has risen by 59 in the last 24 hours to 3,520, Health Ministry data showed on Tuesday. The figures represent a slowdown in deaths and drop in the number of ICU patients.

16:00 –  The UK government says 29,427 people with COVID-19 have died in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings, an increase of 693 on the figure announced a day earlier. The figure means the UK now has the highest death toll in Europe, overtaking Italy.

15:30 – Jordan decides to continue daily night curfew indefinitely even after “containing” the spread of coronavirus, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

14:35 – US president Donald Trump says China should have informed world about the coronavirus, has not talked to president Xi, and will report “very definitely over a period of time” about origin of virus, he said on Tuesday.

14:10 – New York City mayor Bill de Blasio says COVID-19 hospitalizations in the city are now below 100 a day.

14:00 – Air Arabia, the only listed carrier in the United Arab Emirates, has laid off 57 employees due to travel disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

The Sharjah-based airline, which has about 2,000 employees, has like other UAE carriers suspended scheduled operations since March. It is not clear when normal services will resume.

“It is unfortunate that we had to take the decision to lay off a small number of our staff this week. This is the first time in our history that we were forced to do so taking into consideration the current market realities,” the spokesman said.

13:45 – Russia cemented its place as the European country reporting the highest number of new coronavirus infections on Tuesday as its total cases soared passed 155,000.

13:30 – Saudi Arabia announced nine new deaths from COVID-19, taking the Kingdom’s death tally up to 200.

13:05 – The United Kingdom has overtaken Italy to report the highest official death toll from coronavirus in Europe, figures released on Tuesday showed, increasing pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson over his response to the crisis.

12:15 – The Houthi militia in Yemen has confirmed the first known coronavirus infection in Sanaa.

The militia-owned Al-Masirah TV said the patient was a Somali national.

11:35 – All main Turkish factories will resume operations as of May 11, Industry Minister Mustafa Varank said on Tuesday.

The announcement came a day after President Tayyip Erdogan announced a normalization period to restart the economy following the coronavirus outbreak.

11:30 – Yemen recorded nine new known coronavirus infections, one new death, raising total number of known infections to 21 including 3 deaths – according to a supreme national emergency committee tweet.

The United Nations has previously said they fear there are many more people infected who have not been reported.

10:15 – Oman has extended lockdown in Muscat until May 29 and ended the school year for private and government institutions.

09:55 – The total number of COVID-19 cases in Iran has reached 99,970, with a death toll of 6,340.

09:30 – Russia cemented its place as the European country reporting the highest number of new coronavirus infections Tuesday as its total cases soared passed 155,000.

Health officials reported 10,102 new infections over the last 24 hours, a decrease of 531 cases from Sunday’s record surge, bringing Russia’s total to 155,370.

09:10 – Spain has confirmed new cases of coronavirus, bringing total to 219,239. Death toll in country stood at 25,613.

09:05 – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has extended to June 5 a state of emergency declared in areas under his administration in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The lockdown has been in force for two months.

08:45 – Kuwait has reported 85 new coronavirus recoveries, bringing the total to 2,032 recovered patients.

08:40 – Dubai has enough food reserves to sustain its residents despite the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said in a conference meeting with other officials.

08:35 – Customers of the Kuwait Credit Bank have been told they can delay paying installments for six months.

The cabinet ruling has also ordered that no additional fees will be incurred during this time due to the postponed payments.

08:25 – Lebanon’s Higher Defense Council has recommended the government extends coronavirus lockdown until May 24.

08:20 – Tunisia has reported five new coronavirus cases, increasing the total caseload to 1,018.

08:10 – Oman has confirmed 98 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 2,735 infected people.

06:25 – Thailand reported one new coronavirus case and no new deaths, the lowest number of new infections since March 9. The new case is a 45-year-old Thai man from the southern province of Narathiwat, authorities said. 

06:15 – Australia and New Zealand have agreed to begin work on allowing travel between both countries and this arrangement could be eventually extend to other Pacific island nations, the countries said in a joint statement.

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

06:10 – Hong Kong shares recouped some of the previous session’s sharp losses, tracking gains in broader Asia, as countries laid out plans to ease coronavirus-induced restrictions.

06:00 – The United States and Britain launched trade negotiations by videoconference following the UK’s exit from the European Union, as both allies struggle with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and aim to shore up domestic supply chains.

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