Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that it will impose a full nationwide lockdown during the five-day Eid holiday that is scheduled to take place on May 23-27 in the kingdom. According to reports, the middle-eastern kingdom's interior ministry said that the lockdown will be for full 24 hours during the five day period that marks the end of Ramzan and a ban on movement of people will be imposed. However, people will be allowed to venture out in most parts of the country from 9 am to 5 pm local time before Eid, except for the holy city of Mecca that will continue to remain under lockdown.
Mecca is the most affected region in Saudi Arabia with reportedly over 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases so far. As per reports, the Saudi government has urged people to follow lockdown rules including social distancing and wearing face masks in public places while going out before Eid. The oil-rich country on Monday announced plans to triple its Value Added Tax (VAT) in order to boost state treasury by an estimated 100 billion riyals. The kingdom has reportedly halted its monthly handouts that were available to pensioners and those serving in the armed forces.
The lockdown in Saudi Arabia began on March 23 which was later extended until further notice on April 12. The Arab world's biggest economy also formed a special police unit to monitor lockdown violations with stringent punishments for residents. Those found to have violated quarantine rules could reportedly be fined up to 200,000 riyals and face up to two years in prison, while foreign nationals if found guilty would be deported and permanently barred from re-entering the country.
According to figures by worldometer website, Saudi Arabia has recorded 42,925 confirmed coronavirus cases so far, of which more than 1,911 infections came in the last 24 hours. As per data, 264 people in the kingdom have lost their lives and 27,404 patients remain active, of which 147 are under critical condition. Saudi Arabia has reportedly treated 15,257 people successfully.
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