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Saudi Arabia Clamps 24-Hr Curfew Over Fears of Coronavirus Spread

Authorities have provided free groceries to neighborhoods that were under curfew for 24 hour says a tweet

DESPARDES — Saudi authorities have imposed a 24-hour curfew in Riyadh, Tabouk, Dammam, Dhahran, Al Hofuf, as well as in Jeddah, Taif, Al Qatif and Al Khobar, according to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), quoting a source at the Ministry of Interior.

People will be allowed outdoors only for essential needs like food and health care within the neighborhood area they are a resident of from 6am to 3pm during the 24-hr curfew.

Saudi Arabia, which has reported the highest number of infections in the Gulf, is scrambling to limit the spread of the disease at home.

On Monday, the authorities extended the round-the-clock curfew as the kingdom reported four new COVID-19 deaths, bringing the death toll to 38, while the total number of confirmed infections has reached 2,752.

Earlier on Saturday, Saudi authorities imposed a 24-hour curfew in seven neighborhoods in Jeddah. Authorities provided free groceries to neighborhoods that were under curfew for 24 hour says a tweet.

On Thursday, the authorities extended the 24-hour curfew indefinitely in the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina, reports CNN.

Travel between provinces of Saudi Arabia is prohibited.

Last month, Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round “umrah” pilgrimage over fears of the coronavirus pandemic spreading to Islam’s holiest cities.

Authorities are yet to announce whether they will proceed with this year’s hajj, scheduled for the end of July. Authorities last week urged Muslims to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage.

Last year, some 2.5 million faithful traveled to the Kingdom from across the world to take part in the hajj, which all Muslims must perform at least once in their lives if able.

The Arab world’s biggest economy has also closed down cinemas, malls and restaurants and halted flights as it steps up efforts to contain the virus. Authorities have also suspended operations in many government agencies. All schools and universities are closed. Operations of many markets and malls are suspended; gatherings in parks, beaches, and resorts are prohibited. Exceptions are of take-away service, Hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and grocery stores.

King Salman has warned of a “more difficult” fight ahead against the virus, as the kingdom faces the economic double blow of virus-led shutdowns and crashing oil prices.