King Salman in Saudi Arabia Offers To Pay for Coronavirus Patients Treatment Bill

King Salman in Saudi Arabia Offers To Pay for Coronavirus Patients Treatment Bill

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King Salman in Saudi Arabia Offers To Pay for Coronavirus Patients Treatment Bill

King Salman, his 84-year-old father, addressed the nation two weeks ago and chaired an extraordinary virtual summit of G20 leaders to advance a global response to the coronavirus pandemic. The kingdom has registered eight deaths among 1,453 infections, the highest among the six Gulf Arab states.

Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah said King Salman would cover treatment for citizens and residents diagnosed with the virus, urging people with symptoms to get tested.

"We are all in the same boat," he told a news conference, adding Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was overseeing containment efforts "night and day".

The kingdom's de facto ruler was last seen publicly at a cabinet meeting on March 3, days before detaining his uncle and three cousins in a move seen as cementing his eventual path to the throne.

G20 trade ministers are holding an emergency video conference on Monday to discuss cooperation on supply chains.

At a separate news conference, the agriculture ministry spokesman said Saudi Arabia would start importing at least 1.2 million tonnes more wheat next month, adding to strategic reserves of about one million tonnes.

Abdullah Abalkhail said the kingdom also expanded the list of countries from which it can import livestock.

Saudi Arabia has taken drastic steps to contain the coronavirus, halting international flights, closing most public places, and imposing a partial curfew.

Restrictions on movement have tightened with entry and exit to Riyadh, Mecca, Medina and Jeddah heavily restricted.

                                     
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