24-hour curfew violations will not be tolerated, says Saudi Interior Ministry

The area around Al Faisaliyah Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 19, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 22 May 2020

24-hour curfew violations will not be tolerated, says Saudi Interior Ministry

  • Kingdom goes on a complete lockdown from 5 p.m. on May 22 until the fourth day of Eid on May 27
  • Any person violating the curfew will be fined SR10,000, while reported gatherings of over five people with no familial or household ties will be fined SR5,000 per person

JEDDAH: Violations of a nationwide curfew will not be tolerated as the Kingdom goes on a complete lockdown from 5 p.m. on May 22 until the fourth day of Eid on May 27, the Saudi Interior Ministry said on Friday.

“Patrol cars will be stationed to monitor districts, rest houses, and other general facilities, as well as villages to regulate any curfew or social gathering violations,” said Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, the ministry’s security spokesman.

He added that individuals with curfew permits could still carry out their work, unless the ministry or an official source announced otherwise. Any person violating the curfew will be fined SR10,000 ($2,666), while reported gatherings of over five people with no familial or household ties will be fined SR5,000 per person.

The spokesman also revealed that Riyadh was the city with the most curfew violations, but that did not indicate any lenience or negligence on the authorities’ part.

He reminded those who were penalized for violating the measures that they had a month to object to the penalty if there were any mix-ups, or to address the reason behind the violation.

Al-Shalhoub said that only those with exceptional cases could be granted individual access to move from one city to another. He said that it was up to the ministry to approve their applications online.

The Ministry of Commerce and Investment announced that economic and commercial activities would continue during the total lockdown in 20 different facilities, including factories, labs, hypermarkets, restaurants, petrol stations, car wash and mechanic services, farmers markets, butcher shops, food storehouses and facilities, the entire medical sector from pharmacies to public hospitals, plumbing, electrical and carpentry services.

“Restaurants will be able to deliver during lockdown through their fleet or delivery apps, with the exception of food trucks and banquet kitchens,” said the ministry’s spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Hussein. “Citizens and residents will be able to go grocery shopping during a four-hour window per week by applying for a permit on the Tawakalna app.”

There had been an 80 percent decline in shops increasing their prices since the beginning of Ramadan, he said. Since March 23, when the initial curfew regulations were implemented, 215,000 supervisory tours were made and 14,000 violations recorded.

Fifty-five percent of these violations were price increases and that figure had gone down to 35 percent on Friday, Al-Hussein added. He attributed the decline to citizens and residents reporting these violations, and the ministry’s trips.

The ministry has also received 100,000 complaints about online retailers since the beginning of 2020. “The main complaint was the delay in delivery,” said the spokesman. “Each consumer has the right to cancel and request a refund if goods are delayed for over 15 days as per the bylaws of electronic trade.”

Meanwhile the Ministry of Health spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, reminded people of the importance of social distancing as summer approaches. He advised against dipping into swimming pools at the current time and to comply with preventive measures.

Saudi Arabia recorded a total of 2,642 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, 38 percent of them were Saudis, bringing the total number of cases in the Kingdom to 67,719. There are now 28,352 active cases, 302 of whom are in critical condition.

Al-Abd Al-Aly announced that 2,963 people have recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 39,003. The death toll is 364 following 13 new fatalities.

Of these deaths 12 were expats aged 31 to 74, most of them suffering from chronic diseases.


Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation. (SPA)
Updated 31 May 2020

Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

  • People not wearing masks will be fined

JEDDAH: The Kingdom could return to extreme precautionary restrictions if the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds the medical sector’s capacity, Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah warned on Saturday.

“Public awareness and adherence to precautionary measures is essential to continue the ease of restrictions,” Al-Rabiah told Al-Arabiya on Saturday. “We continue monitoring the situation based on the number of critical cases in hospitals and their capacity to receive them. We want to be able to receive all cases that reach out to us and provide them with the care that they need. We are all in one boat in this situation, we are one team, and we must work together cautiously. Lack of commitment will definitely take us back to where we were.”

The minister expressed his concern about overcrowding in some public places during the Eid holidays, adding that while crowds were likely at the initial phase of the ‘unlock’ he remained optimistic about the public’s awareness level.

The minister said that although children were the least likely to be infected they could carry the virus without symptoms. He advised families to keep children away from elderly members of their families such as grandparents.

There were 1,618 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning that 83,384 people have now contracted the disease. There are currently 24,501 active cases.

The Health Ministry announced that 1,870 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 58,883. More than 70 percent of coronavirus patients in the Kingdom have recovered from the disease.

There were 22 new COVID-19-related deaths reported on Saturday, raising the total number of fatalities to 480.

The ministry has assigned 30 health practitioners to carry out the third stage of an expanded examination plan to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the city of Makkah.

FASTFACTS

• 58,883 recoveries

• 24,501 active cases

The examination will take place at a center in the Al-Zaidi district, where citizens and expats will be tested inside their cars through 12 tracks without the need to leave their vehicles. The center has the capacity for over 1,000 tests daily and these will be carried out through appointments made on the ministry’s Sehaty app.

Adjustments to previously announced social-distancing measures and regulations were announced by the Saudi Interior Ministry on Saturday. These include new violation penalties, as the second stage of restriction-easing starts on May 31.

Individuals who intentionally violate regulations will pay SR1,000 ($266). Breaches include not wearing a mask, not committing to social distancing marks and areas, refusing to undergo temperature checks at entrances, or not adhering to preventive protocols if their temperature is higher than 38 degrees Celsius.

The ministry amended the maximum number of people allowed for social gatherings inside homes, rest houses, farms, or in social events such as funerals and parties to 50 people.

Private sector establishments that are found to be non-compliant with new preventive measures and protocols will pay a penalty of SR10,000.

This penalty covers violations such as admitting entry to individuals not wearing medical or cloth masks, lack of disinfectants and sterilizers, not checking employee and customer temperatures at entrances, lack of sterilization on shopping facilities, cart surfaces and shopping baskets after each use, as well as opening fitting rooms and children’s play areas.
Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation.