Saudi Arabia suspends government work

Saudi Arabia suspends government work
Shopping malls will be closed but supermarkets and pharmacies will stay open. (Reuters/FIle)
Short Url
Updated 16 March 2020

Saudi Arabia suspends government work

Saudi Arabia suspends government work
  • Malls and restaurants in the Kingdom also ordered closed
  • Companies asked to quarantine expatriate workers for 14 days after their arrival

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended government work and ordered public-sector workers to stay home for 16 days in the Kingdom’s latest measures against the spread of coronavirus.

Only those working in health, security and the military are exempted from the decision to stop people attending the work place.

Earlier, the Kingdom closed malls and restaurants as well as shops, coffee shops,  parks and gardens. Only pharmacies and food supply activities such as supermarkets and hypermarkets would remain open, provided that they sterilize shopping carts after each use by their clients.

Among other steps taken, Saudi Arabia has requested companies to quarantine expatriate workers for 14 days following their arrival. The Kingdom also suspended the gathering people in parks and at beaches.

On Sunday the health ministry posted a video of minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah asking for the public's cooperation in four key areas to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.



The measures come as the Kingdom announced 15 new cases, taking the overall number to 118.

They include a Filipino and an Indonesian who were in contact with a previously reported case and quarantined in Riyadh, the health ministry said. 

Five other cases had been in contact with another known case and have been quarantined in Qatif.

Another case was a Spanish resident who had arrived from Spain. And two women citizens who had arrived back in the Kingdom from the UK and Spain.

ALSO READ: Lessons we can learn from the coronavirus

Other cases had arrived from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, the UK and Switzerland.

Three patients have made a full recovery and are in good health, with the third discharged on Sunday from Dammam Medical Complex.

The new measures follow a number of steps taken by Saudi Arabia, which are among some of the most comprehensive among the Gulf states. They include halting international passenger flights, canceling Umrah pilgrimages and locking down the eastern Qatif region.