86% Saudis go online daily, finds survey

Updated 20 March 2016

86% Saudis go online daily, finds survey

JEDDAH: Consumer behavior in the Kingdom has seen a major shift due to digital devices, with majority of Saudis — 86 percent — going online every day, the 2015 Connected Consumer Survey for Saudi Arabia has revealed.
A good 90 percent of citizens use the Internet for personal reasons and the average person owns 2.3 connected devices, said the study.
“The study shows that there has been a huge increase in the number of Saudis, that is 86 percent, going online daily as compared to 42 percent going online in 2012,” Faisal Al-Bannai, an IT expert, was quoted as saying by a local publication on Saturday.
The Kingdom’s population is relatively young and has a passion for mobile technology, considering it to be a basic necessity in their daily lives, he said.
“Saudis recognize the promising capabilities of the digital world which allows them to exchange experiences, gather information and communicate in a way they have never done before.”
Al-Bannai said advanced gadgets like smartphones have encouraged this electronic exchange and emphasis on the Internet, and has allowed young and old people to stay connected.
International companies recognize the passion for digital technology in our society, and that is why they consider Saudi Arabia as a leading market for mobiles, he added.

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 33 min 32 sec ago

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.