Saudi lifts COVID-19 curfew as Umrah, international flights still halted

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Saudi Arabia on Saturday said it would lift a nationwide curfew imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The curfew will be lifted across the monarchy starting 6 a.m (0300 GMT) on Sunday along with allowing the reinstatement of all economic sectors, the Saudi state news agency SPA quoted an Interior Ministry source as saying.

However, international flights to and from Saudi Arabia will remain suspended, the source added.

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

It remains unclear whether the main Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj, will take place. More than 2 million Muslims head to the Saudi holy city of Mecca every year for the Hajj, which would take place in late July this year.

Saudi authorities late May 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. (dpa/NAN)

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