Saudia Arabia to partly ease coronavirus lockdown this weekend

Within a three-day period, the kingdom will make major strides against virus-related lockdowns.

A view of a deserted street, during a curfew imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia [File: Yasser Bakhsh/Reuters]
A view of a deserted street, during a curfew imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia [File: Yasser Bakhsh/Reuters]

This weekend, Saudia Arabia will make significant strides toward easing its coronavirus-induced lockdown. Not only will mosques soon open on a limited basis, but its public sector employees will also return to work.

Saudi public sector employees will start returning to work gradually as of Sunday, May 31, after more than two months of suspension amid strict measures to help curb the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Public sector workers will eventually resume work as normal as of June 14, Minister of Human Resources Ahmed al-Rajhi said in a televised speech on Tuesday.

On March 16, Saudi Arabia suspended work in all government sectors except health and security as part of the efforts to contain the pandemic.

The government said on Monday that it would begin easing restrictions on movement and travel this week.

Restrictions will be lifted in three phases, culminating in the curfew completely ending from June 21, except for the holy city of Mecca, the state news agency reported.

Saudi Arabia will allow mosques to open for Friday prayers, state TV reported on Tuesday, as the kingdom eases restrictions on movement to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Mosques will be authorised to open 20 minutes before Friday prayers and should close 20 minutes after they finish, state TV said on Twitter, citing the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

The Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, which attract millions of travellers from around the world, will remain suspended until further notice.

Source: Reuters

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