JEDDAH: The curfew across Saudi Arabia was partially lifted early on Sunday, with the exception of the holy city of Makkah and adjacent neighborhoods previously isolated after a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The early morning announcement from the Ministry of the Interior announced a relaxation of the ban on movement within the city limits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., from April 26, 2020, to May 13, 2020. However, the ban on movement between the country’s different regions remains even outside curfew hours.
“These steps come after a set of important reports examining the results of ministry’s efforts, including self-testing surveys and the monitoring of the pandemic outbreak, as well as the network of health services that were accessible for everyone, which helped to reduce the number of deaths,” said Saudi Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly.
Al-Aly referred to the most recent Google Mobility Report that indicated a high level of commitment among the population to stay home and a huge decline in the use of transport.
“There is still a pandemic around the world, and we are still recording new cases on a daily basis,” said Al-Aly.
He said that the ministry will continue to evaluate the situation, and that the public’s commitment to the strict precautionary measures will determine the results of the next period.
A total of 1,223 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the Kingdom on Sunday, 85 percent of them were expats; 17,522 people in Saudi Arabia have now contracted the disease so far.
Currently, there are 15,026 active cases, 115 of them critical. Most of the newly recorded cases — 76 percent — were not Saudi.
Al-Aly said there were 142 new recovered cases, taking the total number of recoveries to 2,357, while three new deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 139.
The latest fatalities were one Saudi in Al-Hafouf and two expats in Madinah and Makkah. They were aged between 39 and 72.
The interior ministry affirmed that no social gatherings of more than five people were permitted, and it called on citizens and employers to take precautionary measures. People can report violations on Kollona Amn app.
“No entry or exit from the following cities is allowed: Riyadh, Makkah, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran, Hofuf, Jeddah, Taif, Qatif, Khobar and Al-Dair,” said Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, the ministry spokesman.
Moreover, the suspension of international and domestic flights and public transportation will continue until further notice unless in some exceptional cases.
“Returning to normal life as it was before the crisis requires the full commitment of citizens and expats,” said Al-Shalhoub.
Decrease in mobility in numbers:
-77% shopping and luxury
-45% markets and pharmacies
-48% offices and workplace
+24% increase in people keeping to their own neighbourhood
1,223 new cases
142 new recoveries
2,357 total recoveries