Saudi authorities confiscate 4.3 million stockpiled medical masks

4,310,000 medical masks were seized. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 25 March 2020

Saudi authorities confiscate 4.3 million stockpiled medical masks

  • Facility where they were stored was not registered with Food and Drug Authority
  • Masks distributed to legitimate markets; those responsible for hoarding them face legal action

JEDDAH: Saudi officials seized 4,310,000 medical masks they discovered being stored at a facility in Jeddah in violation of commercial regulations.

The masks were being stockpiled with the intention of selling them. Demand is growing for such masks, which are in short supply during the coronavirus crisis.

They were found by a Ministry of Commerce team during investigations and inspections in cooperation with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority. The facility was not authorized by SFDA and had not disclosed the quantity of masks stored there, in violation of laws relating to the Commercial Register.

Video footage of the discovery was shared by the ministry on Twitter on Wednesday, and the seized masks will be redistributed to authorized commercial markets. Penalties were imposed on those responsible for the illicit hoarding, and the case also been referred to the authorities for possible legal action.

The ministry warned importers against illegally stockpiling goods with the intention of selling them later at inflated prices, and urged them to ensure that all stocks are distributed to commercial marketplaces in coordination with the authorities.
 


Saudi Arabia to extend visa validity for expats

Updated 08 April 2020

Saudi Arabia to extend visa validity for expats

  • The extension will continue for an additional three months for expats

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports will extend the validity of exit and return visas – that expire between Feb. 25 until May 24 of 2020 – at no charge, state news agency SPA reported on Wednesday.
The extension will continue for an additional three months for expats. The decision will cover residents of commercial and industrial professions in the Kingdom and those whose visas have not been used during the suspension of the entry and exit period.
The General Directorate of Passports said that the extension will be done automatically from the system without reviewing the passports.
People can enter their accounts on the “Absher” platform to view the service provided to them electronically, it added.