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Saudi orders all private sector staff to work from home, suspends prayers at mosques

Saudi orders all private sector staff to work from home, suspends prayers at mosques

Companies working for the provision of food and medicine and the supply chain and logistical services related to them are exempt

Saudi Arabia has announced that all private sector employees will have to work out of their homes for 15 days while also suspending prayers in mosques – with the exception of the two holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah – as part of measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The measures comes as the kingdom confirmed 38 new cases of the virus in the past 24 hours to reach 171.

“Mosque doors will be closed temporarily but they will be allowed to recite the call to prayer,” a statement on Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Tuesday. It also extends to the weekly Friday prayers.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announced on Wednesday that private sector companies have to begin work-from-home for all their employees.

“It has been decided to suspend attendance at work headquarters in all entities in the private sector for a period of 15 days, and to activate remote working procedures except for vital sectors and sensitive infrastructure sectors such as electricity, water and communications,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

All activities related to the provision of food and medicine and the supply chain and logistical services related to them are exempt from the directive.

Private sector establishments that provide utility services to government agencies must also coordinate with those entities before suspending attendance at workplaces, the ministry said.

For companies that have employees come in, the number of workers must be reduced to the minimum necessary for the conduct of work and the availability of supply chains.

Overall, the number of workers at the workplace must not exceed 40 per cent of the total.

These organisations will also have to adhere to the following –

* Take necessary precautionary measures set by the Ministry of Health for workers. Private sector establishments who have more than 50 workers at their headquarters or the workers housing need to have a sorting point at the entrance where the temperature is taken, symptoms are checked, and the epidemiological link is provided. If there is an issue, the employee will have to exempt from coming to the workplace.

* Ensure that sufficient space is available between workers in the workplace and the workers’ housing, according to the preventive guide for coronavirus inside the workplaces issued by the Ministry of Health.

* Close all health clubs and nurseries located in the company’s headquarters

* Apply the disclosure mechanism from all workers who exhibit symptoms of high temperature, coughing or shortness of breath, or have mixed with an infected or suspected case.

Private sector establishments that are unable to comply with the directive must submit their requests to the authority that supervises them, the ministry added.

Companies have also been asked to grant a compulsory leave of 14 days – which will not be counted from the leave balance for all employees who fall into the following cases: pregnant and lactating women, those who have respiratory diseases, immunodeficiency diseases, users of immunosuppressive drugs, chronic diseases, those with tumours and workers over 55 years old.

Companies can also submit inquiries about the mechanism of remote work to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, queries on health measures to the Ministry of Health.

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