Saudi Arabia closes malls and restaurants, orders government employees to stay home


RIYDAH 10 March (GNP): Saudi Arabia has ordered the closure of shopping malls and restaurants and ordered government employees to stay home for 16 days in the latest measures against the spread of coronavirus.

Only those working in health, security and the military are exempt from the decision to stop people attending the work place.

Earlier, the Kingdom closed shops, coffee shops, parks and gardens. Only supermarkets, pharmacies are allowed to stay open and food deliveries are still allowed.

Among other steps taken, Saudi Arabia has requested companies to quarantine expatriate workers for 14 days following their arrival. The Kingdom also suspended the gathering people in parks and at beaches.

On Sunday the health ministry posted a video of minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah asking for the public’s cooperation in four key areas to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The measures come as the Kingdom announced 15 new cases, taking the overall number to 118.

They include a Filipino and an Indonesian who were in contact with a previously reported case and quarantined in Riyadh, the health ministry said.

Five other cases had been in contact with another known case and have been quarantined in Qatif.

Another case was a Spanish resident who had arrived from Spain. And two women citizens who had arrived back in the Kingdom from the UK and Spain.

Other cases had arrived from Iraq, Iran, Egypt, the UK and Switzerland.

Three patients have made a full recovery and are in good health, with the third discharged on Sunday from Dammam Medical Complex.

The new measures follow a number of steps taken by Saudi Arabia, which are among some of the most comprehensive among the Gulf states. They include halting international passenger flights, canceling Umrah pilgrimages and locking down the eastern Qatif region.