COVID-19: More than 18,500 violate Saudi protocols in a week

Abu Dhabi: More than 18,500 people were booked for failing to abide by the precautionary and preventive protocols against COVID-19 across Saudi Arabia in the week from January 24 to 30, amid concerns over spike in infections, the Ministry of Interior said.

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The statistics showed that Riyadh topped the list of violations with 4,852, followed by Mecca with 2,636, then Al Qassim with 2,557, Al Sharqiya 2,348, and Al Sharqiya 1,002 violations.

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Protocols

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The maximum permissible limit in family and non-family gatherings, inside homes, rest houses or farms, or in social events such as funerals, parties, and the like, is 50 people. The penalty for non-compliance by private sector businesses with the precautionary and preventive protocols is SR10,000.

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The Ministry of Interior stressed that citizens and residents must continue to adhere to the preventive measures and abide by the instructions issued by the authorities in this regard.

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The ministry warned any foreigners residing in the Kingdom who are found to have broken any of the COVID-19 rules will be deported and blacklisted from returning.

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The strict guidelines on social distancing rules include forbidding any gathering in public spaces, shopping malls and shops.

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Offenders risk fines of 5,000 riyals ($1,330), with re-offending accruing a penalty of double this amount.

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Re-offending also carries the risk of prosecution by the authorities, the broadcaster added: “If a violator is a resident of Saudi Arabia, he will be deported from the kingdom, and will be forever forbidden from re-entering it after his punishment is carried out.”

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The ministry of the interior said: “In case a private sector establishment repeated the violation for the first time, it will be shut down for three months. If the violation was repeated for a second time, the establishment will be shut down for six months.”

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If a violator is a resident of Saudi Arabia, he will be deported from the kingdom, and will be forever forbidden from re-entering it after his punishment is carried out.”

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Saudi Arabia faces tough new preventive measures if the public continue to ignore precautions against the spread of COVID-19, the health minister has warned on Sunday.

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“We have unfortunately in recent days registered a noticeable increase and continued rise in infections. One of the main reasons is gatherings and complacency with precautionary measures,” Tawfiq Al-Rabiah said.

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“Lack of compliance will force us to take measures to protect society. I ask you to help us preserve the gains we made in combating the coronavirus. This is a very difficult stage.”

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The Kingdom recorded 261 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the total to 368,074, and three more people died, raising the death toll to 6,375 since the pandemic began early last year.

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