Saudi Arabia pledges $500 million to combat coronavirus

King Salman chairs an emergency G20 video conference to discuss a response to the COVID-19 crisis on March 26, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 17 April 2020

Saudi Arabia pledges $500 million to combat coronavirus

  • Saudi Arabia called on all countries, non-governmental organizations, philanthropies and the private sector to help close a financing gap estimated at over $8 billion to combat the COVID-19 pandemic

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, which currently holds the G20 presidency, has pledged $500 million to support global efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday.

The Kingdom will allocate $150 million to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, $150 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and $200 million to other international and regional health organizations and programs.

It also called on all countries, non-governmental organizations, philanthropies and the private sector to help close a financing gap estimated at over $8 billion to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saudi Arabia announced a fine of up to SR1 million ($266,119) for traders attempting commercial fraud.

The government encouraged the public to continue reporting cases of commercial fraud, with rewards of up to 25 percent of the paid fine. 

A total of 518 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the Kingdom on Thursday, bringing the total number in Saudi Arabia to 6,380 people. There are now 5,307 active cases with 71 in critical care.

Fifty-nine new recovered cases have taken the total number of recoveries to 990, while four new deaths have raised  the death toll to 83 in Saudi Arabia.

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman inspected newly built housing facilities for expat workers. He said: “Migrant workers are our guests and their well being and safety is our responsibility.” 

He added: “Our religion urges us to treat all workers compassionately. And as such, we refuse to have workers exposed to any kind of physical or psychological harm.”

The economic damage, meanwhile, escalated around the world.

 

 


Saudi ministry announces quarantine rules for foreign pilgrims

Updated 20 min 39 sec ago

Saudi ministry announces quarantine rules for foreign pilgrims

  • The official delivered these details at a virtual workshop on Monday

MAKKAH: People arriving in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah are not supposed to wear Ihram on their arrival, as they have to undergo a three-day quarantine in their hotels, said Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

He said at the end of their hotel stay, their respective Umrah companies will transport them to the nearest “Miqat” to don Ihram and continue with their rituals.

In the third phase of Umrah resumption, which begins on Nov.1, pilgrims from around the world will be allowed to enter the Kingdom. Some 20,000 pilgrims — residents and visitors — can perform rituals daily amid strict social distancing measures.

Al-Maddah said the Saudi Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Weqaya) is monitoring the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic situation in every country to help inform the relevant authorities before Umrah arrivals.

The official delivered these details at a virtual workshop on Monday.

He said the Eatmarna app has been downloaded around 3 million times and more than 1.4 million people have applied for permits, with over 1 million being issued for Umrah and prayers in the Grand Mosque.

Al-Maddah said in case of a hike in infections, authorities may limit the number of pilgrims at any point.

He said full medical insurance is mandatory to ensure adequate health care for pilgrims in case of COVID-19 infection or any other health issues.

Al-Maddah said Weqaya will determine which countries can send pilgrims depending on the number of infections. He reassured that Umrah companies will be provided with regular updates.