Saudi ministry targets face mask price violations

Inspectors also confiscated 22 million face masks that were to be sold illegally in Saudi Arabia

  
A Saudi volunteer supervisor wearing a protective face mask and gloves checks the temperature of another volunteer before preparing boxes of Iftar meals provided by a charity organisation following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the holy month of Ramadan, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 10, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A Saudi volunteer supervisor wearing a protective face mask and gloves checks the temperature of another volunteer before preparing boxes of Iftar meals provided by a charity organisation following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during the holy month of Ramadan, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 10, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment found 825 price violations on face masks in some retail stores on Thursday, according to spokesman Abdul Rahman Al-Hussein.

The ministry’s inspection teams fined businesses that inflated the price of face masks amid increasing demand for health and hygiene products over coronavirus fears.

Inspectors also confiscated 22 million face masks that were to be sold illegally in the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, a source at the Saudi Ministry of Interior announced on Thursday that expats who intentionally violate the precautionary measures against coronavirus (COVID-19) will be deported and barred from re-entering the Kingdom.

Violations include: Not using medical or cloth face masks and covering the nose and mouth; not adhering to social distancing; refusing temperature checks on entering public and private sector locations; and not adhering to the procedures adopted when the temperature reaches 38 degrees Celsius.

The Kingdom recorded 32 new COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday, raising the total to 611.

There were 1,975 new cases reported in the Kingdom, meaning 93,157 people have now contracted the disease. There are 23,581 active cases, 1,381 of them are in critical condition.

The Health Ministry announced that 806 more patients had recovered from the coronavirus, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 68,965.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 887,209 tests for COVID-19.

The ministry called upon people to continue washing their hands using soap and water, the basic preventive measure against the virus, as well as covering the nose and mouth with a face mask, medical or fabric, except for those in an enclosed space.

Anyone experiencing any of the symptoms of the virus — high fever, dry cough and breathing difficulties — is advised to use the “Mawid” app for self-evaluation, or call 937 for inquiries and consultations. The ministry has enabled callers to get reliable information on COVID-19 through an interactive chat with medical teams via WhatsApp on 920005937.

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