Saudi Arabia will penalize anyone who violates the country’s strict virus measures with fines and jail time, and deportation for foreign residents

"Stay Home" is displayed on a tower during the coronavirus pandemic in Jeddah.
“Stay Home” is displayed on a tower during the coronavirus pandemic in Jeddah. Photographer: BANDAR ALDANDANI/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia will penalize anyone who violates the country’s strict measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the country, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

The government will fine and jail those who violate the rules and deport foreign residents who do so, the service reported, citing a statement from the kingdom’s interior ministry. It said people who break the quarantine will be fined 200,000 riyals ($53,255) and/or imprisoned for two years.

Saudi Arabia joined other nations late last month in gradually easing some of the restrictions that were put in place to prevent the spread of
the coronavirus. The kingdom partially lifted a 24-hour curfew in all regions
except Mecca and will allow resumption of some commercial and economic
activities.

Under strain from the coronavirus and collapsing oil prices, Saudi Arabia is headed for an economic contraction this year while increasingly drawing down its savings. In March alone, the central bank’s net foreign assets fell by more than 5%, or more than 100 billion riyals.

Anyone who deliberately spreads the virus will be fined 500,000 riyals and/or five years in prison, the news service said. People who use social media platforms to spread misinformation about the virus will be fined 100,000 to 1 million riyals and/or face imprisonment of 1 to 5 years, it said.null

The kingdom has reported 30,251 Covid-19 cases and 200 deaths as of May 5, according to the health ministry.



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