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Saudi eases coronavirus curfews, keeps 24-hour curfew in Makkah

An aerial view shows deserted streets in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on 21 April 2020, as the message "stay home" is displayed on a tower during the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis. [BANDAR ALDANDANI/AFP via Getty Images]
An aerial view shows deserted streets in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on 21 April 2020, as the message "stay home" is displayed on a tower during the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis. [BANDAR ALDANDANI/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia eased curfews on Sunday across the country, while keeping 24-hour curfews in the city of Makkah and in neighbourhoods previously put in isolation, state news agency SPA said, Reuters reports.

Outside those exceptional areas, curfews will be eased between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (0600-1400 GMT) effective Sunday until May 13. The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan began on Friday.

The royal order also allowed some economic and commercial activities to re-start, including wholesale and retail shops and shopping malls, from Wednesday until May 13.

Activities which do not allow for physical distancing, including salons and cinemas, will remain closed. Social gatherings of more than five people are forbidden.

READ: Saudi Arabia to hold prayers in Makkah and Madina 'without worshippers' during Ramadan

Authorities in the capital Riyadh issued additional advice saying banknotes were not to be used.

Shops that do open should ensure no more than one customer per 10 square metres. Malls must be sterilised every 24 hours and children under 15 are not allowed to enter.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 16,299 cases of infection with the new coronavirus and 136 deaths. These are the highest numbers in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which together have recorded almost 43,000 cases and 250 deaths.

READ: Saudi-led truce in Yemen expires amid fears of coronavirus disaster 

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CoronavirusGCCInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsSaudi Arabia
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