Saudi Arabia will enforce a countrywide 24-hour curfew during the five-day Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday later this month to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, the interior ministry said on Tuesday, May 12. The curfew will apply from May 23-May 27 following the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
Until then, commercial and business enterprises will remain open as they now are and people can move freely between 9 am local time (0600 GMT) and 5 pm, except in Mecca which remains under a full curfew, the statement published by state news agency SPA said.'
Saudi Arabia had earlier imposed 24-hour curfews on most towns and cities but eased them for the start of Ramadan. It did not loosen the full isolation lockdowns implemented in some areas with high numbers of coronavirus infections.
Saudi records 42,925 COVID-19 cases
The kingdom has so far recorded 42,925 cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease and 264 deaths. These are the highest numbers in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which together have recorded more than 107,000 cases and 582 deaths.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia formed a police unit to monitor violations of its coronavirus lockdown rules and banned gatherings of more than five people, according to state news agency SPA, citing hefty fines for any violations.
Fines of up to 100,000 riyals ($27,000) will be handed down to groups larger than one family gathering in public and private spaces, including homes, construction sites and shops. The same rule applies to parties, weddings and funerals.
Saudi Arabia recorded its first COVID-19 infection on March 2, several weeks after the initial outbreak in Asia.