Saudi Arabia to pay families of health care workers who died from COVID-19

The government will disperse $133,000 per family.

al-monitor Workers clean and disinfect around the Kaaba on Aug. 1, 2020, traced with lines for easing the physical distancing between pilgrims due to the coronavirus, during the evening before the last day of circumambulation around the shrine, in the Grand Mosque of the holy Saudi city of Mecca, during the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage. Photo by AFP via Getty Images.

Oct 28, 2020

Saudi Arabia will compensate the families of health care workers who died from COVID-19, the official Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday.

“An amount of 500,000 riyals ($133,000) will be disbursed to the families of the deceased due to the coronavirus pandemic, working in the government or private health sector, whether civilian or military, and whether Saudi or non-Saudi,” read a statement from the Saudi Cabinet.

The sum will be paid to families of both Saudis and expats whose loved ones provided care in the public or private sectors. The payouts cover health care workers who died between March 2 — when the kingdom recorded its first case of COVID-19 — and the present.

Saudi Arabia is among the worst-hit countries in the region, but the kingdom's infection rate has slowed dramatically since reporting nearly 5,000 cases in a single day in June.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health confirmed an additional 416 cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 346,047. The death toll in Saudi Arabia has reached 5,348.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Abdulaali, spokesman for the Health Ministry, said on Sunday the current daily average doesn’t warrant another lockdown. The country ended its nationwide curfew and eased other restrictions in late June.

After a seven-month suspension, Saudi Arabia is now allowing a limited number of Muslim pilgrims to perform umrah in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. This summer’s hajj pilgrimage, which draws over 2 million people each year, was scaled down to include just a few thousand socially distanced citizens and residents this July.

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