Saudi Health Ministry grants pregnant women sick leave to avoid virus risks

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Passengers coming from China wearing masks to prevent a new coronavirus are checked by Saudi Health Ministry employees upon their arrival at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 29, 2020. (Reuters)
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Women wear protective face masks, as they walk, after Saudi Arabia imposed a temporary lockdown on the province of Qatif, following the spread of coronavirus, in Qatif, Saudi Arabia March 10, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 16 March 2020

Saudi Health Ministry grants pregnant women sick leave to avoid virus risks

  • The sick leave is part of precautionary measures aimed at confronting the spread of coronavirus

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has announced a compulsory two-week sick leave for pregnant women.

The leave has also been granted to people with respiratory and chronic diseases, tumors and immunodeficiency who are workers in both the private and public sectors.

Dr. Tawfig Al-Rabiah said the committee tasked to monitor coronavirus developments will “implement a package of preventive measures to prevent societal outbreaks."

The committee “obliges all governmental and private sectors to grant compulsory sick leave of two weeks from its date and that it is not calculated from the leave balance for all employees who meet these conditions.”

The sick leave is part of precautionary measures aimed at reducing the numbers of patients infected with the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 57 min 52 sec ago

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.