*Updated on March 3 with all the recent numbers and happenings. 

Some people in the Arab world thought the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) would take long to reach the region, but they were unfortunately wrong as cases have been reported across the region this month. An outbreak of the illness in Iran led to the virus spreading to Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, Bahrain, and Oman. 

The number of those infected with the virus is rising by the minute in the region just as it is in nations across the globe. So far, over 90,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in 76 countries and territories.

Here's everything you need to know about how COVID-19 is unfolding in the Arab world:

Hundreds of cases are now confirmed in Arab countries

Hundreds of cases of the new strain of coronavirus have now been confirmed in Arab countries. 

The first case to be reported in the region was confirmed by the UAE on Jan. 29. As of Sunday night, the Gulf state has confirmed a total of 21 cases. Five of those who were infected in the country made full recoveries; the rest continue to be monitored under quarantine. 

Egypt so far has recorded two cases, while Saudi ArabiaJordan, Morocco, and Tunisia have reported their first cases on Monday. 

The virus' spread in Iran eventually led to an escalation in the rates of infections in Arab countries as nationals traveling back home from the Islamic Republic carried the virus with them. 

Lebanon confirmed its first case of the virus mid-February in a woman who had recently been to Iran. The total of infected individuals in Lebanon has climbed to 13, the country's health ministry reported on Monday. In an attempt to contain the virus from spreading further, schools and universities were ordered to close in the country. 

People arriving back from Iran to Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman also tested positive for the virus. 

Kuwait has confirmed 56 cases among those who traveled back to the Gulf nation in the last week. People in the country have vehemently criticized its Ministry of Health, accusing its officials of mishandling the crisis and failing to impose proper quarantines. 

Things weren't so different in Bahrain, where 49 cases were confirmed so far. Oman has recorded six cases of the virus so far, with one patient reportedly cured on Saturday. The country has also banned entry of visitors coming from virus-hit areas. 

Iraq confirmed 21 cases of the virus in people who had recently been to Iran. Algeria has also reported five cases.

The outbreak is wreaking havoc on local economies

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and several other countries have seen their economic growth drop due to the illness' outbreak. 

The disease is negatively affecting the demand for oil and consequently shaking oil-dependent economies across the Gulf. Worries over coronavirus are also hitting local stock markets very hard. 

If the virus is to spread further - which is what experts believe will happen - it will affect the region's hospitality, retail, and real estate sectors as well. 

Nations in the region are taking drastic measures to stop the outbreak

Nations across the region have halted scheduled passenger flights arriving from Iran and other countries where outbreaks of the virus have been confirmed. 

Several countries are also canceling conferences and public events due to the ongoings. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia - who has yet to report any case of the virus - announced it had suspended entry for Umrah pilgrimage to prevent the disease from spreading. People who hold tourist visas to the country will be denied entry to the kingdom if they come from nations with confirmed cases of the illness.  

The UAE's Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) issued a decision to temporarily suspend travel using national identity cards for GCC nationals. In Kuwait and Bahrain, officials announced a two-week closure of schools in a bid to protect students from the illness. Bahrain has also suspended flights to Iraq and Lebanon in a bid to prevent further cases. 

The UAE announced it's building a new medical facility to treat COVID-19 patients if the virus is to spread further and become a "global emergency."  

Iraq, Oman, Egypt, and Lebanon continue to screen people arriving from nations where there are confirmed coronavirus infections. 

Debates over home confinement quarantines are ongoing

"Personally, I believe that home quarantines are useless. People in Kuwait are very social and it's impossible for them not to mix with anyone for two weeks. The least they're going to do is greet their family members and even if they do get symptoms, they'll live in denial of the fact that the illness can infect others." 

Despite all the efforts being made to help prevent the spread of the virus, people have been complaining about the implementation of quarantines in several Arab countries. 

From Lebanon to Kuwait and Bahrain, authorities made the decision to quarantine people arriving from Iran and other virus-hit countries at home unless they're showing symptoms. These decisions sparked ire among people who thought home quarantines aren't enough to stop the spread of the virus. 

Debates over whether imposing a home quarantine on suspected cases is effective continues to rage across the region.

Anise and other flu remedies are out of stock across the region

Face masks are sold out in most pharmacies in the region and worldwide, with countries warning of an impending shortage. 

As the virus spread to Arab countries, people also flocked to grocery stores to stock up on popular flu remedies, namely yansoun (anise). The plant has reportedly either gone out of stock or experienced a price increase in many regional areas. 

Though famous remedies can ease people's anxieties over the viral illness, health experts say there is no scientific research proving that any sort of herb or supplement can help prevent coronavirus. 

The only things people can do to protect themselves from the illness is to avoid crowded places, stay away from those infected, and practice good personal hygiene.