RIYADH • People in Saudi Arabia ventured out on Sunday night for the first time in three months to celebrate the end of a nationwide coronavirus curfew, dining out, cruising on motorcycles and walking pets after the daytime heat subsided.
The kingdom began a phased easing of restrictions on movement and business activity last month, and lifted its curfew rules entirely on Sunday.
Hair salons and cinemas have reopened, but with strict guidelines on social distancing. However, international flights and religious pilgrimages remain suspended and social gatherings of more than 50 people are banned.
Despite having the highest number of coronavirus infections in the Gulf, the kingdom began to ease its lockdown measures late last month to blunt the twin economic blow dealt by the coronavirus outbreak and low oil prices.
On Sunday, the total number of infections rose to 157,612, while the death toll climbed to 1,267.
The authorities have yet to announce whether they will proceed with this year’s annual haj pilgrimage, scheduled for the end of next month, but have urged Muslims to defer preparations for it.
Meanwhile, Dubai announced that it would reopen its borders to tourists from July 7 – after a closure of more than three months – but they are expected to abide by a list of protocols.
Travellers entering the emirate city state are required to present a health certificate or undergo a Covid-19 test at Dubai airports, with those testing positive to observe a 14-day isolation. They also must have international health insurance, download a phone application to list their details, and fill a special health declaration form.
The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai represents one of the seven sheikdoms, has recorded nearly 45,000 cases of the coronavirus, including 302 deaths.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE