Saudi Arabia will partially lift the curfew in all regions of the kingdom from 9am to 5pm, starting Sunday through Wednesday, May 13, an order issued by King Salman said.
According to state news agency SPA, the 24-hour curfew will, however, remain in Makkah and in previously isolated neighbourhoods.
The order also allowed the opening of some economic and commercial activities, which includes wholesale and retail shops in addition to malls, in the period from 6 to 20 Ramadan, which is from April 29 to May 13.
The relaxation came as number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country reaches 16,299, according to a Reuters tally with 136 fatalities from the virus.
“Based on the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s care and keenness of the health and safety of citizens and expatriates as well as what have been submitted by the relevant health authorities regarding the measures to confront the novel coronavirus for the possibility of implementing a partial curfew and the return of some economic activities in line with health instructions, and with his desire to facilitate on citizens and expatriates,” the order said.
It added, “In addition to the excluded activities mentioned in the previous orders, some commercial and economic activities are allowed to reopen during the aforementioned period in the first provision starting from April 29 until May 13 in the following fields: wholesale and retail trade stores and shopping centres (malls).”
The royal order emphasised a continuation of preventing any activity in those centres that do not implement social distancing, including beauty clinics, barber salons, sports and health clubs, recreational centres, cinemas, beauty salons, restaurants, cafes and other activities determined by the relevant authorities.
The order also allowed the return of the construction companies and factories to practice their activities without restrictions on time, according to the nature of their work.
“Based on the instructions, precautionary and preventive measures approved by the Ministry of Health and the competent authorities, the authorities responsible for monitoring economic, commercial and industrial activities must follow up the compliance with the precautionary and preventive measures in order to submit daily reports thereon,” it said.
The order also called for the continued social distancing measures, including prevention of gatherings for social purposes for more than five people, such as wedding events, funerals, etc., as well as gathering in public places.
“In a case of violating instructions and guidelines in this regard, the prescribed penalties and closing facilities will be imposed,” it said, adding, the royal order to the concerned authorities seeks to urge citizens, expatriates and employers to assume responsibility and adhere to the precautionary and preventive measures in order to overcome this pandemic.—AFP