King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators
King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia. (SPA)
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Updated 30 March 2020

King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators
  • Royal order applicable to government and private health facilities

RIYADH: King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom's health minister, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, announced the king’s order at a press conference in Riyadh on Monday and said it included citizens and residents - even those in violation of residency laws.

Al-Rabiah said the royal order was borne out of the king’s keenness to put the health of citizens and residents first and to ensure the safety of all.

The number of virus victims in Saudi Arabia reached 1,453 on Monday, with 8 confirmed deaths and 115 recoveries.

The president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, thanked King Salman for the directive.

“This reflects the human and moral approach the Kingdom is adopting in dealing with this pandemic,” he said, adding that Saudi Arabia “is keen to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatment according to the highest medical standards without discrimination.”

He added: “This gives the most striking example in preserving human rights and dignity as everyone, whether citizen or resident, should enjoy health and safety, including violators of the residency system.”

This move, he said, clearly reflects the Kingdom's approach based on respecting and promoting human rights on the ground. 

“This shows that the most valuable asset for Saudi Arabia is the human being, thereby guaranteeing a decent and healthy living, the foremost right of everyone.”


Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details. (shutterstock)
Updated 59 min 48 sec ago

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia

Fraudsters up their game, posing as bank officials on the phone in Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Central Bank has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers

JEDDAH: Fraudsters have developed a new scam, contacting residents in Saudi Arabia and pretending to be bank staffers requesting customer details.
A number of Arab News staff have received such calls in recent weeks. One caller spoke Urdu while two other callers posing as senior officials from the headquarters of the bank spoke in English and Arabic with a local accent.
They used phone numbers that appeared to be local numbers but upon calling back, the lines failed to connect.
The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.
Speaking to Arab News, Talat Zaki Hafiz, secretary-general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee of Saudi banks, said: “Saudi banks represented by the Media and Banking Awareness Committee have repeatedly warned bank customers not to react to stray phone calls of any kind coming from unknown sources that ask to update their banking record or personal information.” He further confirmed that banks do not request such information through phone calls or SMS messages.
Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at the King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News: “Phishing, an online scam which targets users through emails where individuals are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to fraudulent sites, was troubling people. Now it’s a different kind of scam known as ‘vishing,’ over-the-phone phishing, where scammers persuade users to share their banking information by impersonating a bank official.”

HIGHLIGHT

The racketeers collect phone numbers of customers and ring them up, saying that their bank account or ATM card requires immediate updating. The scammers use the information provided to gain access to their bank accounts.

Vishing that occurs during a telephone call aims to provoke fear in the victim so that customers will be more susceptible to giving out personal, financial, or security details.
Sharing his experience Zafar Hasan, an e-learning consultant in Riyadh, said: “I received a call from someone on an unknown mobile number who introduced himself as a bank employee and told me that my ATM card was going to be blocked. It required an immediate update so I should give my Iqama number (residence permit number) and sixteen-digit ATM card number. I felt something was fishy, so I told him that I would go personally to the bank to update the card.”
The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has warned bank customers, both citizens and expatriates, not to fall victim to financial frauds being perpetrated by scammers.
SAMA called on bank customers to take information only from the official channels of the bodies regulating the Kingdom’s financial and investment sectors and inform the competent security authorities about such fraudulent attempts.