JEDDAH: Health officials in Saudi Arabia’s Asir region have dismissed claims that patients who recovered from COVID-19 received money from the government.
A video circulating on social media showed a man emptying a bag with the Asir health directorate logo on it. He unpacked a rose, a bottle of sanitizer, chocolate bars and SR1,500 ($400).
The video sparked rumours that people were receiving the gifts after they were discharged from hospitals.
Tweeting in response to an Arab News inquiry about the accuracy of the video, Asir health directorate said people should avoid spreading such “rumors” and take the right information from official sources.
The money might have already belonged to the person in the video, the directorate said in the message, which was retweeted by the health ministry.
Comments from Twitter users varied from dry humor to those who demanded that the man is punished.
“We have been stuck in our houses since the curfew was ordered, why should they not give us money like the man in the video?” one user replied.
Faisal, another user, said: “These people have nothing to do and they want to gain fame.”
Another tweeted: “The health ministry announced that 25,722 COVID-19 cases have recovered. If we believe that the health ministry gives money to recovered people, we can say that it has spent more than SR38.5 million on them. This is really ridiculous.
“Logic says that such a big amount of money could have been given to the health heroes who expose their lives to dangers in their attempts to save people’s lives.”
Saudi Arabia’s public prosecution has repeatedly said that information related to the coronavirus pandemic should always be taken from its official sources as a “moral commitment and legal responsibility.”
Such action “goes against the great efforts being implemented to fight COVID-19, and can cause fear among people,” the public prosecution said.