Saudi Arabia partially lifts coronavirus curfew nationwide, Mecca lockdown remains

Saudi policemen manning a checkpoint on King Fahd road in the capital Riyadh, after the Kingdom began implementing an 11-hour nationwide curfew. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia has partially lifted the curfew restrictions it imposed across the Kingdom starting on Sunday while maintaining a full lockdown on Mecca and previously isolated neighborhoods, according to royal order from King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The announcement made by state television confirmed public movement from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. will be allowed each day until May 13, the twentieth day of Ramadan.

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Some economic and commercial activities will restart from April 29 until May 13, coinciding from the sixth until the twentieth day of Ramadan, the official statements added.

Authorities confirmed that wholesale and retail trade stores will be allowed to resume their activities during the two-week period from April 29 until May 13, including inside shopping centers and malls.

Specific stores that do not achieve social distancing measures such as beauty clinics, barber salons, sports and health clubs, recreational centers, cinemas, beauty salons, restaurants, cafes and other activities determined by the competent authorities will continue to be restricted, according to an official statement published by the Saudi Press Agency.

A Saudi man walks past a poster depicting Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 25, 2020. (Reuters)

A Saudi man walks past a poster depicting Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, after a curfew was imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 25, 2020. (Reuters)

The statement also stipulated that contracting companies and factories are to return to practice their activities without any time restrictions during the same two-week period.

“Emphasis on continuing to apply social distancing measures, including the continuation of banning social gatherings of more than five people will be applied,” according to the statement.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia initially imposed a 24-hour curfew and lockdown on the cities of Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran, and Hofuf and throughout the governorates of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif, and Khobar on April 6.

Saudi policemen manning a checkpoint on King Fahd road in the capital Riyadh, after the Kingdom began implementing an 11-hour nationwide curfew. (AFP)

Saudi policemen manning a checkpoint on King Fahd road in the capital Riyadh, after the Kingdom began implementing an 11-hour nationwide curfew. (AFP)

Citizens and residents in Saudi Arabia were only allowed to leave their homes only for essential needs like food and health care and stay within the neighborhood area they are a resident of from 6 am to 3 pm daily during the 24-hour curfew these past several weeks.

Late last week, authorities in the Kingdom slightly revised its coronavirus curfew timings for the month of Ramadan allowing residents to go out for necessary needs between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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