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1 death in Saudi due to Coronavirus so far

Saudi Arabia’s quick and strong response to COVID-19 is a lesson to western countries (and around the world), and means that there are – so far – minimal cases and only one death in the country. Compare this with neighbouring Iran, where deaths are well into four figures, or Turkey, where some health professionals speculate that 60% of the country is now COVID-positive. Unlike some of its western allies, Saudi Arabia has taken the deadly coronavirus outbreak seriously from the very outset. The refusal to do the same in some governments in the West may have grave consequences for the public’s trust in their leaders, and even the protection of human rights.

Before the Kingdom had even recorded a single case of coronavirus, it banned foreign worshippers from performing pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, which no doubt halted the advance of the deadly disease. Earlier in the month, officials in the kingdom said the ban for Umrah was temporary but gave no indication how long it might last. It comes amid a broader ban on visa holders from states deemed most likely to pose a risk to regional health.

Coronavirus map: how Covid-19 is spreading across the world

“The kingdom’s government has decided to suspend entry to the kingdom for the purpose of umrah and visit the Prophet’s mosque temporarily,” the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement.

While some governments have been paralysed by the confusion, fear and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, Riyadh has taken tough decisions for the greater good – and continues to do so. While many airports in Europe and North America remain open for flights, the Kingdom has gone further and faster by suspending all international flights into the country for two weeks.

“The fact that Saudi has responded so well shows that the Kingdom’s leadership is more fluid and resilient than perhaps some outside observers realise.”

Mohammed Alsherebi
Entrepreneur and philanthropist

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