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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia records more than 150,000 cases following recent spike

The kingdom is the hardest hit among the Gulf Arab states and due to lift nationwide curfew next week
Saudi woman face shield coronavirus
A Saudi woman wears a face shield while shopping at a supermarket in Riyadh on 14 June (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 150,000 coronavirus cases following a spike in new infections in recent days, making it the hardest hit among the six Gulf Arab states.

Figures released by the Saudi health ministry on Friday showed 4,301 new cases of Covid-19 in the kingdom, pushing the infection tally to 150,292, with 1,184 deaths.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, based on Reuters' calculations, now stands at more than 331,000 with at least 1,800 deaths.

Globally, more than 8.53 million people have been reported to be infected by Covid-19 and 453,834​ have died.

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On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s daily tally of coronavirus cases rose above 4,000 for the first time. Within a 24-hour period, the capital Riyadh recorded the biggest spike with 1,735 more infections, followed by Jeddah and the holy city of Mecca - with more than 300 each.

The government has called for people to comply with health measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus. 

The recent surge in infections follows a report estimating that as many as 1.2 million foreign workers could leave Saudi Arabia by the end of 2020 due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

And on Friday, Thailand confirmed five new coronavirus cases, all of which were Thai citizens in quarantine after returning from Saudi Arabia, said a spokesman for the government’s COVID-19 task force.

Saudi Arabia, which has a population of about 30 million, has slowly allowed employees to return to offices, commercial centres to reopen, and prayers at mosques to resume in a three-phase plan that began last month. The nationwide curfew is due to end on 21 June.

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