Saudi Arabia extends COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, events, dining services

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Saudi Arabia will extend its COVID-19 restrictions for 20 more days starting Sunday night on gatherings, events and dining services, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported, citing a Ministry of Interior source.

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The decision was made with health authorities in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the Kingdom, which has seen a spike in new cases in recent weeks.

The restrictions will be in effect for a total of 30 days from the day authorities first imposed the new restrictions on February 3.

The preventative measures include the following shutdowns or restrictions:

1. Attendance at social events and gatherings should not exceed 20 people.

2. All public entertainment and events are suspended.

3. Cinemas, indoor entertainment centers and independent game centers, including those located in restaurants, malls, or other public places, gyms and sports centers are closed.

4. Dining services are suspended at restaurants and cafes and food services are limited to delivery or take out only.

“The source noted the importance of everyone's commitment, in addition to adhering to the other precautionary measures mentioned in the previous statement, related to events, meetings, gatherings, parties, and funerals,” SPA reported.

The announcement extends a set of measures brought in 10 days ago and includes cinema and indoor sports center closures. The restrictions, which come into effect from 10pm local time on Sunday evening, could be extended again, the ministry statement said.

Two weeks ago, Saudi Arabia suspended entry to the Kingdom from 20 countries, with the exception of Saudi citizens, diplomats and medical practitioners and their families.

The Kingdom, the largest among the six Gulf states and the Arab world’s biggest economy, on Saturday recorded 337 new coronavirus cases and four deaths. It saw daily infections fall from a peak above 4,000 in June to dip below the 100 mark in early January.

With Reuters

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