RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday said Iran was responsible for increasing the number of coronavirus cases and spreading the outbreak around the world.
An official source accused Iran of “irresponsible actions” for allowing Saudi citizens into the country without stamping their passports during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Iranian officials say 107 people have died from the illness but independent experts say the toll must be much higher amid allegations that the regime has covered up the full scale of the epidemic.
Five people in Saudi Arabia have had coronavirus diagnosed. Three of the cases had returned together from Iran via Bahrain, while the fourth returned via Kuwait and infected his wife.
“These actions are a proof of Iran’s direct responsibility in increasing COVID-19 infections and in the virus’s outbreak all around the world,” an official Saudi source said. “This behavior poses a serious public health threat to the international community and undermines international efforts to combat COVID-19, putting many communities around the world at risk.”
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The official urged all Saudi citizens who had returned from Iran in recent weeks to immediately contact the health ministry by calling 937.
Citizens currently in Iran should also immediately report their travel to Iran upon their arrival back in the Kingdom.
If they report their travel to Iran within 48 hours they will not be subjected to the “Travel Documents Law,” the official said.
“The Kingdom is keen on ensuring the safety of all citizens who had visited Iran by providing them with this opportunity and refraining from any legal action against them,” the official said. “Furthermore, the Kingdom is determined to protect the families of those who had traveled to places where there is an outbreak of COVID-19.”
Citizens should not travel to Iran for any reason, the statement said, adding that they face serious legal actions if they do so in the future.
The official called upon Iranian authorities to disclose the identities of Saudi nationals who had illegally visited Iran since the Feb. 1,
He added that the Iranian authorities would be held fully responsible for all Saudis who did not report their travels and had been infected during their stay in Iran.