May 12, 2020 / 5:48 PM / 19 days ago

Saudi Arabia to enforce nationwide 24-hour curfew for Eid holiday

FILE PHOTO: A cleric calls for the prayer at an empty Al-Rajhi Mosque, as Friday prayers were suspended following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 20, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will enforce a countrywide 24-hour curfew during the five-day Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday later this month to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

The curfew will apply from May 23-May 27 following the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Until then, commercial and business enterprises will remain open as they now are and people can move freely between 9 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) and 5 p.m., except in Mecca which remains under a full curfew, the statement published by state news agency SPA said.

Saudi Arabia had earlier imposed 24-hour curfews on most towns and cities but eased them for the start of Ramadan. It did not loosen the full isolation lockdowns implemented in some areas with high numbers of coronavirus infections.

The kingdom has so far recorded 42,925 cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease and 264 deaths.

These are the highest numbers in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which together have recorded more than 107,000 cases and 582 deaths.

Reporting by Marwa Rashad; Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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