JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has announced that citizens who breach COVID-19 quarantine rules could face up to two years in prison and fines of SR200,000 ($53,330).

The announcement, made by the Ministry of Interior, added that expatriates violating the rules will be deported from the country and permanently banned from returning to the Kingdom, where approximately 10 million foreigners are living or working.

The strict measures come as part of the Saudi authorities’ policies to curb the spread of the virus.

The announcement also stressed that penalties would be doubled for those who have previously broken the rules.

Saudi Arabia confirmed 4,738 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 670,997.

Of the new cases, 1,559 were recorded in Riyadh, 573 in Jeddah, 189 in Dammam, 172 in Hofuf, 156 in Makkah, and 114 in Jazan.

Several other cities recorded fewer than 100 new cases each.

Health authorities also confirmed two new COVID-19-related deaths, bringing the Kingdom’s death toll to 8,929.

The Ministry of Health said that of the current cases, 825 remain in critical condition.

It added that 4,973 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 622,087.

More than 56.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign began, with more than 23.6 million people fully vaccinated.

The ministry, which has 587 vaccine centers throughout the Kingdom, urged people who have not yet received a jab to register to receive one through its Sehhaty app.

Meanwhile, testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have helped millions of people since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Taakad centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual, while Tetamman clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.

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