Saudi Arabia daily COVID-19 cases spike past 500 after falling below 100

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Daily coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia have risen above 500 for the first time since October and the health ministry on Saturday blamed the increase on gatherings and laxity in complying with preventive measures such as social distancing.

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The Gulf state recorded 510 new infections on Friday and 502 on Saturday to take its total tally to 387,794 cases with 6,643 deaths. More than 200 of the cases were in the capital Riyadh.

The Kingdom had seen daily infections fall to below 100 in January from a peak of more than 4,000 in June.

Authorities last week expanded COVID-19 vaccinations to all citizens and residents aged 16 and above. Starting mid-May, unvaccinated workers at food outlets, public transport, gyms, and salons would be required to take a PCR test every week.

Saudi Arabia in January postponed the end of a ban on travel for its citizens and full reopening of entry points to May 17. In February, it suspended entry for non-citizens from 20 states except for diplomats and medical practitioners.

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