JEDDAH: Saudis breaching coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine rules have been warned they could face up to two years in prison and fines of SR200,000 ($53,330).
The clampdown by authorities came as the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the Kingdom on Tuesday passed the 7,000 mark.
The country’s Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution said the penalties would apply to those violating regulations whether they were infected with COVID-19, had come into contact with someone having the virus, or were suspected of being a carrier.
Under the move, expatriates violating the rules will be deported from the Kingdom and permanently banned from returning to the country.
Penalties will be doubled for repeat rule breakers.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reported 14 COVID-19-related deaths, taking the toll to 7,006. The Ministry of Health also logged 999 new cases, meaning a total of 421,300 people in the country had now contracted the virus, and of the 9,587 active cases, 1,356 patients were in critical condition.
Ministry officials said that 398 of the newly recorded cases were in the Riyadh region, 241 in the Makkah region, 111 infections were recorded in the Eastern Province, and 48 in the Madinah region.
In addition, 1,005 patients have recovered from the illness, putting the total number of recoveries at 404,707.
Meanwhile, nearly 1 million pilgrims and 2 million worshippers flocked to the Grand Mosque in Makkah during the first 20 days of Ramadan, said the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, represented by the General Administration for Crowd Control and Grouping.
Osama Al-Hujaili, the administration’s director for crowd control, said: “The finest services were provided and paths for the elderly and people with disabilities were created. We call on pilgrims to adhere to the times set by the Eatmarna and Tawakkalna apps, wear masks, and follow social distancing rules.”
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