Riyadh condemns attack in Istanbul

Updated 20 March 2016

Riyadh condemns attack in Istanbul

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia joined the international community in condemning the terrorist attack in a busy shopping street in Istanbul on Saturday.
“The Kingdom rejects all forms of terrorism and reiterates its support to Turkey and its fight against terror,” a source at the Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by SPA.
John Kirby, US State Department spokesman, condemned the bombing that claimed four lives, calling it a “vicious terrorist attack” and vowing to stand by Turkey.
“The US stands in solidarity with our NATO ally Turkey in combating the common threat of terrorism,” Kirby said in a statement.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “I strongly condemn this despicable and cowardly act that has caused the death of several people.”
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu denounced the bombing that killed five people and wounded 36 as “inhumane” and said Turkey would continue its struggle against terrorism
“No center of terrorism will reach its aim with such monstrous attacks,” he said in a written statement.
“Our struggle will continue with the same resolution and determination until terrorism ends completely.”
The blast sent panicked shoppers scurrying into side alleys off Istiklal Street, a long pedestrian avenue lined with international stores and foreign consulates.


Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 26 May 2020

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.