By Suliman al Asad
Riyadh, Jun 21 (efe-epa).- Saudi Arabia on Sunday returned to “normality,” lifting its coronavirus-related curfew and reopening mosques in the Muslim holy city of Mecca despite a steadily increasing number of new Covid-19 cases.
The nighttime curfew, imposed at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, was lifted as the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country stands at nearly 158,000.
This is the last phase of a three-stage reopening plan the kingdom began implementing on 28 May.
All economic and commercial activities have officially been resumed as of Sunday, while Saudis are once again free to move between the provinces.
In the meantime, 75 percent of the public employees have returned to their work places.
The spokespersons for the Health and Labor Ministries, however, warned that “the return to normal life does not mean the disappearance of the virus.”
Therefore, “continuous evaluation and special measures will be applied against those who do not comply with the preventive protocols against the virus.”
Over the past few weeks, the kingdom has witnessed a significant spike in coronavirus cases, with the infection rate reaching as high as 4,000 per day, although recently around 3,000 cases a day has been the norm.
With the third phase, the authorities are aiming at reestablishing the “normal situation” that reigned before the curfew.