Saudi ministry targets face mask price violations

Police officers intensify their efforts and monitor the flow of vehicles on highways after the government eased lockdown restrictions in the Kingdom. (SPA)
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Updated 05 June 2020

Saudi ministry targets face mask price violations

  • KSA reports 1,975 new virus cases, 806 recoveries, 32 deaths on Thursday

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment found 825 price violations on face masks in some retail stores on Thursday, according to spokesman Abdul Rahman Al-Hussein.

The ministry’s inspection teams fined businesses that inflated the price of face masks amid increasing demand for health and hygiene products over coronavirus fears.

Inspectors also confiscated 22 million face masks that were to be sold illegally in the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, a source at the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday that expats who intentionally violate the precautionary measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) will be deported and barred from re-entering the Kingdom.

Violations include: Not using medical or cloth face masks and covering the nose and mouth; not adhering to social distancing; refusing temperature checks on entering public and private sector locations; and not adhering to the procedures adopted when the temperature reaches 38 degrees Celsius.

The Kingdom recorded 32 new COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday, raising the total to 611.

There were 1,975 new cases reported in the Kingdom, meaning 93,157 people have now contracted the disease. There are 23,581 active cases, 1,381 of them are in critical condition.

The Health Ministry announced that 806 more patients had recovered from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 68,965.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 887,209 tests for COVID-19.

The ministry called upon people to continue washing their hands using soap and water, the basic preventive measure against the virus, as well as covering the nose and mouth with a face mask, medical or fabric, except for those in an enclosed space.

Anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of the virus — high fever, dry cough and breathing difficulties — is advised to use the “Mawid” app for self-evaluation, or call 937 for inquiries and consultations. The ministry has enabled callers to get reliable information on COVID-19 through an interactive chat with medical teams via WhatsApp on 920005937.

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

Updated 06 July 2020

$800bn plan to turn Riyadh into cultural hub for the Middle East

  • Saudi capital’s planning chief unveils ambitious strategy ahead of G20 urban development summit
  • 18 megaprojects have already been launched worth over $250 billion

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is launching a SR3 trillion ($800 billion) plan to double the size of Riyadh in the next decade and transform it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region.

The ambitious strategy for the capital city was unveiled by Fahd Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for the City of Riyadh, ahead of key meetings of the U20, the arm of the G20 leaders’ summit that deals with urban development and strategy.

“Riyadh is already a very important economic engine for the Kingdom, and although it’s already very successful, the plan now, under Vision 2030, is to actually take that way further, to double the population to 15 million people,” he told Arab News.

“We’ve already launched 18 megaprojects in the city, worth over SR1 trillion, over $250 billion, to both improve livability and deliver much higher economic growth so we can create jobs and double the population in 10 years. It’s a significant plan and the whole city is working to make sure this happens.”


About $250 billion in investment is expected from the private sector, with the same amount generated by increased economic activity from population growth, finance and banking, cultural and desert tourism, and leisure events.


“We must also ensure the growth is managed properly, so there will be a focus on transport and logistics, including the Riyadh metro which will open at the beginning of next year. The aim is to increase productivity,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plan involves the creation of a “mega industrial zone” focusing on advanced technology such as renewables and automation, and biotechnology and aquaponics. Another key feature is sustainability, with energy conservation, the circular carbon economy with its emphasis on reducing emissions, and water management, all priorities.

“You will see 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years, and King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London,” Al-Rasheed said.


  • 18 megaprojects have already been launched worth over $250 billion.
  • 7 million trees planted in Riyadh in the next few years.
  • King Salman Park will be bigger than Hyde Park in London.

The city also aims to be a Middle East artistic and cultural hub. An opera house is being considered, as well as public art shows with 1,000 works commissioned from around the world. “We have not seen anything like it since Renaissance Florence,” Al-Rasheed said.

The plans will be discussed this week during online meetings of the U20 linking Riyadh with Houston. The Texas oil capital is suffering a new spike in coronavirus cases and pandemics will be on the agenda. “We want to deal with this one, but also be ready for the next one,” Al-Rasheed said.