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Saudi Arabia To Lift COVID-19 Curfew As Umrah, International Flights Remain Suspended

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Saudi Arabia has announced that it would lift the nationwide curfew imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus, it emerged on Saturday.

The curfew will be lifted across the monarchy starting 6 a.m (0300 GMT) on Sunday, along with the restart of all economic sectors, Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a Ministry of Interior source.

However, international flights, as well as land and sea border crossings will remain suspended until further notice.

Social distancing procedures will continue, and gatherings for social purposes will not exceed a maximum of 50 people.

The measures put in place will be periodically reviewed by the Ministry of Health, and penalties will be imposed on violators.

The Umrah pilgrimage, which has been halted since early March, will also remain suspended.

It is however unclear whether the main Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj, will take place.

More than 2 million Muslims visit Saudi holy city of Mecca every year for the Hajj, which is slated to take place in late July this year.

In May, Saudi authorities eased some virus-induced restrictions, shortening the curfew, reopening mosques, except those in Mecca, and resumed domestic flights.

The Gulf monarchy has the Arab world’s largest number of coronavirus infections with 154,233 cases resulting in 1,230 deaths, according to the Health Ministry’s tally on Saturday.

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