The COVID-19 recovery rate in GCC countries is significantly higher than the global average, according to new research. An average of 81.4 per cent of cases have recovered in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman – well above the global figure of 57 per cent.
Each GCC member country also scored well above the global average individually. Bahrain led the group at 89.2 per cent, followed by Kuwait (84.2%), the UAE (86.8%), Saudi Arabia (80.2%) and Oman (66.7%).
The figures are the latest from CoronaTracker.com, a community-driven project of more than 460 data scientists, medical professionals and developers monitoring and analysing global trends related to the pandemic.
The website sources data from a range of international media and public agencies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
The recovery rate represents the percentage of a country’s citizens confirmed to have been infected by the virus who have made a full recovery. With the global total of confirmed COVID-19 cases now standing at well over 11.7 million, and governments around the world bracing for a second wave of infections, the recovery rate has emerged as an important metric for measuring the effectiveness of countries’ ongoing responses to the pandemic.
In Bahrain, the Kingdom’s strong recovery rates featured prominently in a recent press conference held by The National Taskforce for Combating Coronavirus (The Taskforce) to highlight measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
At the event, Dr. Waleed Khalifa Al Manea, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health and member of The Taskforce commented: “International praise for our work from the World Health Organisation is evidence that we have taken the right approach to tackle the virus. This should be an incentive to remain resilient as national containment efforts continue. Bahrain’s recovery rate currently stands at 83.85% with a 0.32% death rate. Isolation centre capacity stands at 34%, with 2,839 out of 8,357 beds occupied, and 1,814 asymptotic cases are under optional home self-isolation after meeting the set criteria.”
The GCC has previously garnered praise from the WHO for its collective early, rapid and robust response to the outbreak. Speed played a major role in preventing the spread of infection thereby ensuring healthcare services were not overwhelmed, resulting in the region’s strong recovery rates.
Bahrain was one of the first countries in the world to shut down all educational institutions, from kindergartens to universities, and to take rapid action to ground flights until quarantine facilities were in place. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, banned foreign pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca before it had registered even one case of infection. Every GCC member had shutdown schools and universities by mid-March, with non-essential businesses to follow. By the end of March, almost every member country had suspended international passenger flights.
Technological innovation and digital connectivity played an equally crucial role. In the UAE, police deployed smart helmets capable of scanning temperatures of hundreds of people every minute. Bahrain, meanwhile, has used multilingual robots on isolation wards to check body temperatures, administer medicines, serve meals and sterilise treatment rooms with beams of ultraviolet light. Both Bahrain and the UAE lead much of the world in testing rates, ranking fifth and sixth respectively globally for rate of tests per million people.