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Saudi Arabia provides Covid-19 tests for over 1 million people

In the short span of two weeks, over a million people residing in Saudi Arabia have benefited from mass COVID-19 testing conducted by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health. Six new regional laboratories have been set up along with a mobile laboratory with a production capacity of 10,000 daily tests.

These growing test aim to reduce the the spread of the virus in the Kingdom, where there are a total of 18,811 cases. Of the 1,289 new cases recorded on Monday, 16 percent were Saudi and 84 percent were expats.

“Over a million people have benefited from the mass testing being conducted, whether it is through medical tests or medical evaluations and active testing,” announced Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, the spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of Health. “This has helped detect certain areas that may have a high count of cases, and these are targeted via mass testing depending on whether or not they test positive,” he added.

Part of a wider global cooperation

Amid these nationwide efforts, Saudi Arabia also announced a 995 million riyals ($265 million) deal with a Chinese firm to further increase the testing, but this time, within people’s homes. This comes at a time when the kingdom is carefully easing up on the confinement and curfew laws, with exceptions for virus hotbeds such as Mecca.

This bilateral deal also encompasses the establishment of six large regional laboratories throughout KSA, in addition to a mobile laboratory with a production capacity of 10,000 daily tests.

The Kingdom has also purchased coronavirus test kits from other U.S., Swiss and South Korean companies, to reach their targeted goal to test 14.5 million people, representing roughly 40% of Saudi Arabia’s population.

Despite the testing, precautions remain high in the holiest cities

In efforts to facilitate the holy month Ramadan, while still flattening the curve, King Salman issued an order to partially lift the curfew, now effective from 9:00am. to 5:00pm, with malls and retailers allowed to reopen until May 13, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

No exceptions are made of Mecca and Medina, keeping the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque closed to the public in a rare occurrence in Islam‘s 1,400-year history.