RIYADH – Saudi Arabia on Wednesday suspended work in most of private sector for 15 days and directed business to implement work-from-home policies to stop the spread of the coronavirus that has infected 171 people in the Kingdom.
The human resource ministry directed businesses to close their main office, reduce staff levels at secondary locations, and take measures to limit contact between workers and monitor them for symptoms of infection.
It outlined exception for companies providing vital food and health services as well as utility services for government agencies. Pregnant women, workers over 55 and those with severe pre-existing condition must be given 14 days additional leave.
The move is the latest in a series of firm measures by Saudi authorities to combat the outbreak, including closing mosques, schools, restaurants, coffee shops and malls, as well as halting international flight and cancelling the Umrah pilgrimage.
Earlier this weeks, public sector workers were told to take off, the central bank implemented work-from-home measures for banks, and the Council of Ministers cancelled its regular meeting for the next two weeks.
The United Arab Emirates said it would suspend the issuance of visas on arrival from Thursday until further notice. It had already barred people not qualifying for visas on arrival.
More than 1,000 infections and one death have been reported in the Gulf – many linked to travel to neighboring Iran, which is an epicenter for the outbreak in the Middle East.
Kuwait recorded 12 more cases on Wednesday, including six Kuwaitis, on American resident and a Spanish resident who had all been to Britain.
Bahrain, which this week recorded the Gulf’s first death from the disease, will evacuate more citizens from the Iranian city of Mashhad with a second repatriation flight scheduled for Thursday, a Bahraini official told Reuters.
He said the flight, using an Omani aircraft, had been delayed for a week while quarantine facilities were being prepared in Bahrain, where a main isolation center has been set up on a barren island linked to the mainland by causeway.
Gulf airlines have suspended dozens of routes as the coronavirus outbreak disrupts global travel. The UAE still allows entry of foreign diplomats and residents and foreign visitors can still enter Bahrain. Qatar and Oman continue to permit transit flights.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed his current health situation in a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al – Kadhimi, state news agency SPA reported. The Crown Prince further thanked Al – Kadhimi for his concerns. The Crown Prince underwent a successful surgical procedure on Wednesday morning to treat appendicitis at … More Saudi Crown Prince Receives Phone Call From Iraqi PM
It is all systems go for 2021/2021 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season as the first of the Diriyah E – Prix double – header of races on Friday prepares to get under starter\s orders in Riyadh. History will once again be made when the single – seater series, given championship status by the … More Diriyah E-Prix Night Race Will Be ‘Historic’ Occasion: Prince Khalid
US President Biden Thursday called Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, according to the White House. The call was ‘to address the longstanding partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia’, a White House statement said. Regional security, including Washington’s diplomatic efforts to end the war in Yemen, was discussed. ‘The US commitment to help Saudi Arabia … More US President Biden Calls Saudi Arabia’s King Salman: White House
Digital vaccination certification enabling people to travel in Europe despite the coronavirus pandemic will probably be available before the summer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after a virtual EU Summit. ‘Everyone agreed that we need a digital vaccination certificate’, Merkel told a press conference on Thursday, adding the EU Commission would need around three months … More Digital Vaccination Passports Likely Available Before Summer, Merkel Says
Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman held a phone call with British Secretary Ben Wallace to discuss defense relations between both countries. ‘Had a good call with the United Kingdom Defense Secretary Ben Wasllace to discuss defense relations between out two friendly countries, and our common interests in achieving regional and international stability’, … More Saudi Prince Khalid Bin Salman Discusses Defense Relations With U.K.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman underwent surgery Wednesday to treat appendicitis, the Saudi Press Agency Reported. According to the SPA, the laparoscopic surgery, which was performed at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyad, was successful. The crown prince has since been discharged from the hospital.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has announced the launch of Soudah Development Company (SDC) in the Asir region that will lead the development of a luxury mountain destination and will infuse $3 billion (SAR 11 billion) into infrastructure and tourism projects, according to a statement. The statement added that the new entry is … More Saudi Arabia Crown’s Prince Launces Soudah Develop Company With Investment Of SR 11 Billion
Britain’s Prince Philip will remain in hospital for several days where he is comfortable and responding to treatment, Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday, while he is getting ‘a lot better‘ his son Prince Edwards told Sky News. ‘The Duke of Edinburgh remains at King Edward VII’s Hospital where he is receiving medical attention for an … More UK’S Prince Philip To Stay In Hospital, Son Edward Says He Is A Lot Better
The value of Saudi Arabia’s imports from Turkey in December dropped to their lowest level in at least a year, Saudi official data showed on Wednesday, on the back of an informal boycott by Saudi businessmen and retailers of Turkish products. Political tensions spilled over into trade between the two regional powers last year after … More Saudi Imports From Turkey Tumble In December After Informal Boycott
Kuwait announces it will be closing its land and sea border crossings with certain exceptions made for shipping workers and returning citizens and their immediate family members and companions, according to a decision by the country’s Council of Ministers. Exceptions were made for shipping operations and workers in the divided zone, according to the announcement. … More Kuwait Closes Sea, Land Borders With Certain Exceptions For Citizens, Workers
Oman has announced it is suspending entry of travellers from several countries, including Sudan and Lebanon, amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases. The suspension of entry for travellers will include the following countries: Sudan, Lebanon, Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Ethiopia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. ‘The suspension of entry will also apply to … More Oman Suspends Entry Of Travelers From Several Countries Amid COVID-19 Spike
Saudi Arabia and Russia have difference over a potential deal among OPEC+ oil producers that could ease curbs on supply starting in April, a source told RIA news week. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, are likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a … More Russia, Saudi Arabia At Odds Over Output Deal Ahead Of OPEC+ Meeting – RIA Cites Source
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Mohammed bin Salman crowned on Saturday, Prince Abdulrahman bin Abdullah, owner of the horse ‘Mishrrif’, the winner of the second edition of the Saudi Cup 2021, carrying the highest prize in global horse racing, state news agency SPA reported. SPA added that the Crown Prince also congratulated both Jockey David Egan and … More Crown Prince Awards Saudi Cup At King Abdulaziz Racetrack
Kuwait will allow non – Kuwaiti citizens to enter the country starting Feb.21 with some new procedures, the civil aviation authority said in a statement late on Friday. Travelers arriving on direct flight from high risk countries will have to resort to institutional quarantine in one of the local hotels for 14 days, while travellers … More Kuwait To Allow Non – Kuwaiti Citizens To Enter The Country Starting Feb 21- Statement
Saudi Arabia will invest more than $20 billion in its domestic military industry over the next decade as part of aggressive plans to boost local military spending, the head of the kingdom’s military industry regulator said on Saturday. The Gulf state wants to develop and manufacture more weapons and military systems domestically, aiming to spend … More Saudi Arabia To Invest More Than $20 Billion In Its Military Industry Over Next Decade
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan made their final split with the British royal family, telling Queen Elizabeth that they will not be returning as working members of monarchy, Buckingham Palace said on Friday. Harry and Meghan, who announced they are expecting their second child on Sunday, shocked senior royals last year by announcing plans … More Prince Harry, Megan Won’t Return To Royal Family Roles: Buckingham Palace
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will sponsor on Saturday the second edition of the Saudi Cup 2021, carrying the highest prize in global horse racing, state news agency SPA reported on Friday. The world’s leading owners, trainers, jockeys, and their horses will compete for prize money totalling $30.5 million in the championship at the King Abdulaziz … More Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sponsors World’s Most Valuable Horse Race, Saudi Cup 2021
United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III called Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to assisting the Kingdom in defending its borders, the Pentagon Said on Friday. Austin condemned the recent cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Iran – backed Houthis and thanked the Crown Prince for … More U.S. Committed To Helping Saudi Arabia Defend Borders, Defense Secretary Tells Crown Prince
Saudi Arabia’s inflation rose to 5.7% in January from 5.3% the month before, continuing a rise fuelled by a tripling of value – added tax last year, government data showed. The increase was mainly driven by higher food and transport prices, which increased by 12.6% and 9.6% respectively, the General Authority for Statistics said. Annual … More Saudi January Inflation Rises To 5.7%, Continuing To Reflect VAT Hike
Saudi Arabia has ratcheted up the stakes in an intensifying competition with neighbouring for foreign talent and money. From 2024, the Saudi government will stop giving state contracts and commercial institution that base their Middle East hubs in any country in the region, the Saudi finance minister told Reuters. The measure is the latest attempt … More Saudi Arabia Eyes Dubai’s Crown With HQ Ultimatum
Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved establishing the bank of small and medium enterprises, state news agency (SPA) reported. ‘The SMEs Bank brings together all financing solutions under one umbrella to enable the small and medium enterprises sector to access appropriate financing and chive stability and growth’, the Ministry of Commerce wrote on Twitter. ‘The … More Saudi Cabinet Approves Establishing Bank Of SMEs
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud received a written message from Sheikh Nawaf Al – Ahmad Al -Jaber Al – Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait. The message stressed the depth of fraternal relations binding the two countries, and ways of enhancing them at various levels. The … More King Salman Receives Written Message From Emir Of Kuwait
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has increased its holding of U.S. stocks to nearly $12.8 billion in the fourth quarter from $7 billion in the third quarter, according to a U.S. regulatory filing on Tuesday. The Public Investment Fund (PIF) took new bets in the last quarter, buying a $1.07 billion stake in Electronic Arts … More Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund Boosts U.S. Equities Exposure to Nearly $12.8 Bln
Saudi Arabia will no longer sign contracts with foreign companies which do not have a regional headquarters in the kingdom after 2023, state news agency, SPA, reported on Monday, citing official source. The policy, which comes into effect on Jan1. 2024, is designed to encourage foreign firms to open a permanent, in – country regional … More Saudi Arabia Won’t Work With Foreign Firms Without Regional HQ From 2024
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed the implementation of the OPEC+ oil output deal in a telephone call on Monday, the Kremlin said. The Kremlin said Putin backed continued close cooperation between Moscow and Riyadh to support the stability of the global energy market.
Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are expecting their second child, a spokesperson for the couple said on Sunday. Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, stepped back from royal duties in January 2020 and moved with their son Archie to Southern California to live a more independent life and … More ‘Overjoyed’ Harry And Meghan Expecting Second Child
Bahrain’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic will be gradual, with growth projected at 3.3.% this year after a 5.4% contraction in 2020, the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday. The tiny Gulf state has been battered by the twin shocks of the coronavirus crisis and lower oil prices, which pushed its overall fiscal deficit … More Bahrain’s Economy To Grow 3.3% This Year, Must Cut Public Debt – IMF
Saudi Arabia will extend its COVID-19 restrictions for 20 more days starting Sunday night on gatherings, events and dining services, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA), reported, citing a Ministry of Interior source. The decision was made with health authorities in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the Kingdom, which ha … More Saudi Arabia Extends COVID-19 Restrictions On Gatherings, Events, Dining Services
Daimler AG’s U.S. unit Mercedes – Benz USA said Saturday it is recalling 1.29 million vehicles sold since 2016 because software may fail to communicate correct vehicle location in the event of a crash. The recall covers some 2016-2021 model year CLS – Class, GLA -Class, GLS-Class, SLC-Class, A-Class, GT-Class, C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, CLS – … More Daimler Recalls 1.29 Million U.S. Vehicles For Software Issue
Donald Trump on Saturday was acquitted by the US Senate in his second impeachment trial in 12 months, as his fellow Republicans shielded him from accountability for the deadly assault by his supporters on the US Capital, a shrine of American democracy. The US Senate voted of 57-43 fell short of the two – third … More US Senate Acquits Donald Trump In Second Impeachment Trial