A review of the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Arab world

Nasar Alwahaibi*, Muna Al Maskari, Buthaina Al Dhahli, Halima Al Issaei, Shadia Al Bahlani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a rapidly spreading disease worldwide. It is a real test for all health authorities including Arab countries. In this review, we aimed to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Arab world. In addition, to compare the findings of this study with other top affected countries. Methodology: We searched for official websites from the Ministries of Health and other official sources in all 22 Arab countries. Medline, Science Direct and Google Scholar websites were also used to search for COVID-19, 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 and coronavirus. The time period was from 1 January 2020 to 31 May 2020. Results: As of May 31, 2020, COVID-19 has caused 290,428 confirmed cases, 3,696 deaths and 157,886 cured cases in all Arab countries. In terms of confirmed cases, Saudi Arabia followed by Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Egypt have the highest reported cases. However, the total number of deaths was dominant in Egypt, followed by Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and UAE. In comparison to other non-Arab countries and confirmed cases, Arab countries come fourth after USA, Brazil and Russia. In terms of death, the Arab world is not listed as the top ten affected countries as only scored eight deaths per million have been recorded. Conclusions: Most Arab countries took some serious early steps to minimize the outbreak of COVID-19. At the moment, controlling the source of infection, the route of transmission and taking care of infected patients are the main challenges for health authorities in all Arab countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1238-1245
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Infection in Developing Countries
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Arab world
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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