Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia extends visas for expats and visitors

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The visas of foreign residents and visitors in Saudi Arabia who have been affected by the kingdom's coronavirus lockdown will be extended for three months free of charge, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

An order to this effect approved by King Salman includes the exit and return visas issued to foreign residents who were either unable to leave the kingdom or to return from abroad because of the closure of borders, as well as the residence permits of expats outside the country whose validity expired during the lockdown, a ministry official told the state Saudi Press Agency.

It also includes final exit visas of foreign residents and the visit visas of foreigners who were unable to leave the kingdom before they expired.

These exceptions could be revised as needed, the official told SPA.

The Saudi health ministry on Sunday announced plans to open its Takkad coronavirus testing centres in all regions in coming days as it reported 3,580 new cases, 1,980 recoveries and 58 more deaths from Covid-19.

The ministry said 357,000 people had visited the testing centres opened so far, while another 208,000 had availed of the Tetamman clinics set up for people with Covid-19 symptoms such as sore throat sore, fever, shortness of breath and cough.

In Kuwait, the health ministry reported 638 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday, taking the country's total to 49,941.

A further 520 patients recovered from the virus, while three new deaths raised the total to 368.

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Coronavirus around the world

Guests wearing protective face masks watch the fireworks display from the South Lawn of the White House as they celebrate US Independence Day. Reuters

People, wearing masks, flock to the souvenir market in the city centre, Tijuana, Mexico. Reuters

A resident looks out of a window from a public housing tower in North Melbourne, Australia. Police are enforcing a lockdown at towers in Melbourne after Victoria recorded over 100 new coronavirus cases. EPA

People gather to watch fireworks on the banks of the East River to celebrate Independence Day in Queens, New York City. AFP

A person reacts to Black Lives Matter protesters who arrived at a rally against restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, in Phoenix, Arizona, US. Reuters

Social distancing signs are seen on the floor at the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea. The signs read: "Safe Distance." AP Photo

Beachgoers walk along the boardwalk in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego, California. Many beaches have been shut down for the Fourth of July weekend across California. AFP

Fireworks are seen lighting up the sky in New York City.AFP

A worker disinfects a ball before the start of a Mexican tournament football match between Guadalajara and Atlas in Guadalajara, Jalisco state, Mexico. AFP

Voters and members of Election Management Committee wearing protective face masks are seen at a voting station for the Tokyo Governor election, in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters

Reveller socialise in the street during the evening in Soho, London, Britain. Pubs, restaurants, places of worship, hairdressers and other businesses have reopened their doors across the UK on 'Super Saturday' after more than three months of lockdown. EPA

A family considers candidate posters, including current governor Yuriko Koike, for the Tokyo Governor election in front of a voting station in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters

The North Melbourne Public housing flats in Melbourne, Australia. Nine public housing estates have been placed into mandatory lockdown and two additional suburbs are under stay-at-home orders as authorities work to stop further Covid-19 outbreaks. Getty Images

Jessica Terreros places candles around flowers arranged in the form of a Catholic rosary at the cross-raising ceremony of her aunt Luz Maria Gonzalez, in the family home in Valle de Chalco, on the outskirts of Mexico City. Gonzalez, 56, who had long suffered from asthma, diabetes and hypertension, died two days after her 29-year-old son, who was hospitalised for breathing problems and a cough before dying of complications said to be related to pneumonia and undiagnosed diabetes. AP Photo

A street seller wears a mask in Riobamba, Ecuador. EPA

Buddhist monks hold candles and flowers as they lead devotees around giant Buddha statue to mark Asalha Bucha Day in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat amid Covid-19 restrictions. AFP

Buddhist devotees offer food to monks during an event to mark Asalha Bucha Day in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat. AFP

A St. John Ambulance volunteer sprays disinfectant at a secondary school in Colombo, Sri Lanka. EPA

Indians fish with nets during a fresh lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus, in the river Brahmaputra in Gauhati, India. AP Photo

A Pakistani health worker collects samples for testing of local residents in Karachi, Pakistan. EPA

People wearing protective masks visit a cattle market set up for the upcoming Muslim festival Eid al-Adha in Peshawar, Pakistan. AP Photo

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Qatar's health ministry reported 616 new infections, 1,897 recoveries and five more deaths on Sunday, leaving the country with 7,387 active cases.

Oman said it was launching spot checks on businesses to ensure they comply with safety guidelines amid a “staggering” rise in cases.

Inspection teams "will visit offices suddenly and take immediate action against those who fail to comply", Health Minister Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Saidi said.

Oman has declared more than 46,000 cases since the outbreak reached its shores in February.

Of the 1,072 new cases reported on Sunday, 75 per cent were Omanis. Ten new deaths raised the sultanate's Covid-19 toll to 213.

The health ministry said 27,917 of those who tested positive for the coronavirus have since recovered.

In Bahrain, 8,280 tests carried out on Saturday revealed 447 new cases, the health ministry said. they include 250 expatriate workers, 193 contacts of active cases, and four travel-related cases.

The number of people who have recovered from the virus rose by 641 to 23,959, it said.

Outside the Gulf, Iran reported its highest daily death toll from Covid-19 on Sunday amid a resurgence of the coronavirus in the worst-affected country in the Middle East.

Besides the 163 deaths since Saturday, 2,560 more people had tested positive for the coronavirus, raising the country's total confirmed infections to 240,438. There have been 201,330 recoveries, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said.

Iran's previous record of 162 deaths was announced last Monday. Case numbers and deaths have been rising steadily in recent weeks after Iran eased its coronavirus restrictions in mid-April.

President Hassan Rouhani warned on Saturday that Iranians who do not wear masks will be denied state services and workplaces that fail to comply with health protocols will be shut for a week.

In Morocco, which eased coronavirus lockdown measures only on June 25, an outbreak at a fish canning factory in the southern port city of Safi contributed to the kingdom's highest daily rise in cases since early March.

The city was quarantined overnight and its around 300,000 inhabitants placed under a total lockdown, local media reported on Sunday.

The health ministry said the 698 new infections raised Morocco's total to 14,132 cases and 234 deaths.

Updated: July 5, 2020 07:59 PM

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