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Saudi Arabia suspends work at govt departments for 16 days

Saudi Arabia suspends work at govt departments for 16 days

All commercial markets and malls with be shut down, with the exception of pharmacies and food stores

Saudi Arabia has suspended work in government departments for a period of 16 days effective Monday, March 16.

The directive extends to all government agencies with the exception of the health, security and military sectors, the electronic security centre and the distant education system, Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an official source at the Ministry of Interior.

All commercial markets and malls with be shut down, with the exception of pharmacies and food stores such as supermarkets, hypermarkets, provided that they sterilize shopping carts after each use.

F&B restaurants and service providers can furnish only take-away requests as customers will not be allowed to sit inside shops.

All gatherings in public places such as parks, beaches, resorts, camps, wild parks are shunned. All auctions and related activities have been temporarily suspended as well, with their gathering sites closed.

The authorities have further advised to limit public dealings in government departments by promoting electronic transactions as well as to curb commercial dealings with companies and their representatives to electronic and telephone communication as much as possible.

Overall, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development encouraged companies, private institutions, and charitable societies to reduce the number of employees coming into work and to promote remote work through the available electronic. Basic and sensitive work for the security and health sectors are expected to continue.

Additionally, pregnant women, those with respiratory or cardiac diseases, HIV or hereditary diseases, and users of immunosuppressive drugs, who are undergoing treatment from tumors shall be granted the opportunity to work remotely, provided that they furnish a medical report not older than four weeks.

Also, all companies and institutions were advised to instruct expatriate workers coming into the kingdom to self quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days from the date of arrival.

The kingdom’s central bank, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), announced a SAR50bn ($13.3bn) stimulus package to help small- and medium-sized businesses within the private sector to counter the impact of coronavirus on the economy.

Read more: Saudi Central Bank declares SAR50bn package to combat coronavirus

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