The Saudi Arabian government announced that it will pay for the expenses of medical treatments for all citizens and residents diagnosed with COVID-19, even those in violation of residency and visa laws. King Salman aims to encourage all those with symptoms to get tested and treated, in order to curb the spread of the virus, releasing them of potential financial burdens and prioritizing health.
On Monday, the Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah announced that King Salman would finance treatments for all those who have and will have contracted the virus in the Kingdom.
“We are all in the same boat,” he told a news conference, adding that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is also overseeing containment efforts, working “night and day” according to Reuters.
By the King's decree, all #Saudi citizens, expatriates, and even undocumented residents will receive free treatment for #Coronavirus. Access to the right information, resources, and healthcare is the best way to fight #COVID19 and stay #CalmTogether. pic.twitter.com/0BNbX9LrG4
— Saudi Arabia (@saudiarabia) March 31, 2020
Acting rapidly to avoid the domino effect
The Kingdom has already taken a very reactive stance in the face of the pandemic. It has imposing a 21 day nationwide curfew, chose to close its borders and no longer issues visas for those wanting to visit the holy sites of Mecca and Medina, and now forbids movement between its provinces.
In parallel to the decision to finance all COVID-19 treatment, and a continued effort to battle the crisis, the Saudi agriculture ministry took steps to boost its wheat and livestock supplies amid global fears of potential food shortages.
Public health officials say Saudi Arabia‘s past experience combating the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) are aiding in its calm and methodical preparation for the novel, yet devastating, coronavirus outbreak.