GCC ministers discuss economic impact of COVID-19

Virtual meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) commerce ministers on Friday. (SPA)
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Updated 04 April 2020

GCC ministers discuss economic impact of COVID-19

RIYADH: Commerce ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) held a virtual meeting to discuss the economic impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Overseeing the provision and smooth flow of necessary basic commodities to citizens of their countries was highlighted as one of the key roles of the ministries.

The meeting was chaired by the UAE’s minister of economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al-Mansoori, and was attended by his GCC counterparts along with the council’s secretary-general, Dr. Naif bin Falah Al-Hajraf.

Ministers reviewed initiatives taken by GCC countries to provide support for their private sectors, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises, and other economic activities affected by the pandemic.

They discussed the importance of maintaining the movement of goods and keeping airports, seaports and land routes open for the transport of commodities between GCC states, while at the same time meeting the requirements of precautionary measures introduced to prevent the spread of the virus.

The ministers agreed to set up a task team from their ministries to coordinate and monitor trade flows.


Saudi Arabia will ease COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday

Updated 48 min 4 sec ago

Saudi Arabia will ease COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday

  • Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the easing will take place in phases
  • Al-Rabiah said the people of the Kingdom had shown a “high amount of responsibility"

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will begin to ease its COVID-19 lockdown from Thursday.

Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said the easing will be done in phases and will depend on reports on the spread of the virus. 

The first phase will begin with expanding capacity to serve more patients and the second phase will include intensifying COVID-19 tests.

Speaking in a press conference on Monday, the Health Minister said the people of the Kingdom had shown a “high amount of responsibility in practicing social distancing.” 

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READ MORE: Saudi crown prince says COVID-19 will pass

Saudi Arabia reports 9 new COVID-19 deaths

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Rabiah said imposing the precautionary measures during an early phase of the pandemic had put the Kingdom in more control. 

The minister said that people should continue taking precautionary measures while leaving their homes by using facemasks and hand gloves.

The Health Ministry recorded nine new fatalities and 2,235 new cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom on Monday. The new deaths have increased the virus-related toll in Saudi Arabia to 399 and the total number of confirmed cases to 74,795. 

It also said the number of recoveries has risen to 2,148, raising the total number of recovered cases 45,668.