The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced a complete lockdown across the country during Eid Al-Fitr this year. The upcoming holiday from May 23 to 27 (30th of Ramadan to 4th of Shawwal) will see a 24-hour curfew in the Kingdom in its ongoing efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Announced by the Saudi Interior Ministry on Tuesday, the decision to impose the curfew after Ramadan is in line with the directives of King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, and follows a massive spike in the number of infections. Until the end of Ramadan, economic and commercial activities will be performed normally and people can move freely between the hours of 9am to 5pm — while abiding by the precautionary measures.
However, during this five-day period, residents across the country will only be allowed to step outside of their homes for essential and medical purposes between 9am to 5pm. Citizens and expatriates must make sure to follow the safety measures put in place, practice social distancing as well as not participate in gatherings with more than five people as they have been banned. The Saudi government has also continued with its restriction on high-risk areas such as Makkah, which remains under full curfew, while travel to and from neighborhoods under lockdown is prohibited.
With 42,925 confirmed cases and 264 deaths, currently, Saudi Arabia has reported the highest number of virus infections in the Gulf region. Earlier in March, the Kingdom suspended the Umrah pilgrimage performed all year round in order to curb the spread of the virus. It is yet to be announced whether the annual Hajj pilgrimage will be carried out in late July, although the Kingdom has urged Muslims around the world to temporarily postpone their preparations for the same.