The latest data issued by search engine Google has unveiled how the Coronavirus outbreak is affecting mobility across the GCC.
- Most substantial effects were visible in the transit and retail segments, with -60% and -53.2% reductions
- Bahrain experienced the least reduction in mobility, followed by Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE
The latest research results show the quarterly percentage change of each country based on a range of key indicators including parks, transit, and grocery stores.
Across all metrics, the average decline for the whole of the GCC during the first three months of 2020 was 34.1%. Bahrain experienced the least mobility reduction in the region at -21.2% – followed by Kuwait (-36.3%), Oman (-37.8%), Saudi Arabia (-38.5%) and the UAE (-42.33%).
Residential mobility, as well as the grocery and pharmacy segment, were least affected across the region, with respective changes of -27% and +22.83% on average.
The most substantial effects were registered in the transit and retail segments, with average reductions of -60% and -53.2% respectively, due to a series of guarding rules against COVID-19 put in place across the GCC. These have included lockdowns or curfews by Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, while all nations have halted the majority of passenger flights to combat the spread.
Bahrain’s response – which was endorsed by the World Health Organisation during the early stages of the outbreak had involved keeping open shops and other essential facilities while increasing public testing capabilities.
Dr Omar Al Ubaidly, Director – Studies and Research of Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) highlighted the significance of taking early steps against COVID-19 in securing the succession of these segments.
He said: “The question of how to balance health and economic interests during the pandemic is a very difficult one being faced by all countries at present.
“What is certain is that any tradeoff between the two is significantly improved by having better levels of preparation and testing. In this regard, Bahrain’s early steps have allowed it to maintain more normal lifestyles for its residents while still limiting the spread of the coronavirus.”