Covid-19: Saudi Arabia reports first coronavirus death, 205 new cases

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Riyadh - An Afghan resident in the holy city of Madinah died from the virus, the ministry said.


Published: Wed 25 Mar 2020, 7:12 AM

Last updated: Wed 25 Mar 2020, 10:29 AM

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reported its first death from the new coronavirus as the total number of infections spiked to 767, according to the health ministry.

An Afghan resident in the holy city of Madinah died from the virus, the ministry said, while reporting 205 new infections - the biggest jump in the Kingdom in a single day.

Saudi Arabia began implementing a nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew on Monday to limit the spread of the deadly Covid-19 illness.

The Arab world's biggest economy has also closed down cinemas, malls and restaurants, halted flights and suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage as it steps up efforts to contain the virus.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia warned on Thursday of a "more difficult" fight ahead against the virus, as the kingdom faces the double blow of virus-led shutdowns and crashing oil prices.

Last week, the kingdom unveiled stimulus measures amounting to 120 billion riyals ($32 billion) to support businesses and said it plans to raise borrowing to 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Similar restrictions and stimulus measures have been reported by other countries in the Gulf, where more than 2,100 coronavirus infections have been reported so far.

In Oman, the minsitry said it would suspend all passenger flights from March 29 except to and from Musandam, bordering the UAE

Nearby Bahrain recorded its third death from the virus on Tuesday.

Kuwait's cabinet said anyone caught intentionally spreading the virus could face up to 10 years in jail, according to state media.

Kuwait, which has recorded 191 cases so far, has taken the strictest measures in the Gulf by largely locking down the country to combat the spread of Covid-19.

On Tuesday it said it would create a fund to gather contributions to efforts against the virus.

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