Stock markets in the Gulf experienced further losses as countries across the Middle East implemented new precautions such as restrictions on the movement of people and shutting public places amid the new coronavirus outbreak.
Markets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi saw losses on Sunday. The United Arab Emirates’ main equity index has fallen by 30% in March. Emirates NBD, the largest lender in Dubai, has lost more than 40% of its value this month, while First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest lender in the UAE, has plunged by 37%, according to the Bloomberg data.
The worst-hit Middle Eastern country, Iran, alongside Saudi Arabia, announced new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday. The number of deaths in Iran reached 1,685, with the total number of infections at 21,638, while Turkey and Israel neared 1,000 cases.
Israel implemented new rules on Sunday prohibiting most Israelis from leaving their homes for the next seven days.
Saudi Arabia has recorded 119 new coronavirus cases, taking the country's total tally to 511.
Qatar restricted all forms of public gatherings and made a statement saying that individuals who violate these restrictions would be arrested.
The UAE also implemented precautions such as shutting beaches, parks and pools, and imposing new restrictions on restaurants.
The aviation industry in the Middle East is also being battered by the new coronavirus outbreak. Emirates airline announced the suspension of all passenger flights from March 25, while Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways also halted the majority of its flights.
Turkey's death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 21 Saturday, while the number of confirmed cases has surged since the first case was announced last week, reaching 947.
Turkey has taken several measures to stem the virus such as temporarily closing schools and universities, halting events and public activities, postponing foreign visits, and barring spectators from sports events.
Interior Ministry on Monday ordered all cafes, gyms, theaters, cinemas, performance centers, concert halls, wedding halls, music halls, beer halls, taverns, hookah lounges, internet cafes, all types of game centers, amusement parks, pools, Turkish baths, saunas and spas to be closed beginning Tuesday.