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GCC approves food supply network for member states

April 17, 2020 at 3:49 pm

People wear medical masks as a precaution against coronavirus in Kuwait City, Kuwait, on 26 February 2020 [Jaber Abdulkhaleg/Anadolu Agency]

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has today approved the establishment of a common food supply network among its member states. The proposal for such a network was made by Kuwait in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the state-backed Kuwaiti News Agency (KUNA), the country’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali Bin Ahmed Al-Kuwari, said that the GCC members have given instructions to the council’s General Secretariat to finish a technical study of the plan in order to give final approval. The decision was taken yesterday during an online meeting between Al-Kuwari and his counterparts who participated in the council’s Second Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers of Commerce.

The food security and supply system will enhance the supply of food to and between the six GCC states — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar — within the parameters of the crisis caused by the worldwide spread of the respiratory virus and the various measures taken to curb it. The adoption of a unified draft law on food security and the securing of a strategic stockpile by the states will also be drawn from existing legislation.

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While measures introduced in recent months against the spread of the virus include the closure of mosques and suspension of congregational prayers, in Saudi Arabia even the smaller pilgrimage, or Umrah, to the cities of Makkah and Madinah has been restricted. The Kingdom has also installed and activated thermal body cameras in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah which are able to scan the temperatures of up to 25 people accurately at the same time to detect if they are infected with the virus. The new cameras operate at a distance of up to nine metres and provide an immediate audio and visual reading for each individual scanned.

The six GCC member states have officially recorded over 22,000 cases of Covid-19 infections and at least 140 deaths.

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