RIYADH: King Salman has ordered the extension of curfews across Saudi Arabia “until further notice” as the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 disease continues, the official Saudi Press Agency reported early Sunday.
Quoting an official source at the Ministry of Interior, SPA said the King issued the order just before the 21-day curfew measure, which started on March 23, expired at midnight Saturday.
The extension of the curfew measure is meant to ensure that the spread of the coronavirus would be placed under full control, the announcement said.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health on Thursday said the number of COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom has reached 3,651, of which 2,919 were active, including 57 in intensive care.
Some 685 patients had been treated and 47 had died, the ministry said.
The curfew order across the Kingdom was initially from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. It was then revised to 3 p.m. and until 6 a.m.
Last week, most of the major cities in the Kingdom were placed under 24-hour curfew after the rule against social distancing was observed to be wantonly ignored.
On Saturday, police have started reporting the arrest of curfew violators.
The latest arrest involved a man in his 40s, who threatened in a video circulated on social media to move from a region known to have COVID-19 cases to another region still unaffected by the pandemic, SPA reported early Sunday.
Major Sami bin Fahid Al-Shammari, police spokesman for Hail region, said legal measures were taken against the suspect.
A group of Indian residents in Riyadh were also arrested after being caught not only violating the lockdown measure but also for stealing electrical equipment and copper circuit breakers from the country’s government-owned electricity company, Saudi Electric Co.
Two people were also arrested for violating the curfew hours for the purpose of impersonating security officers and stopping passers-by to take their money, as well as stealing a vehicle.
Likewise, a man who published a video of stores with empty shelves that were being cleaned but spread rumors about a dearth in goods in stores across the country was also arrested for spreading misinformation in the Eastern Province.