Iran is undermining global efforts in combating corona — Cabinet

March 10, 2020
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman chairs the weekly session of the Cabinet at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh. — SPA
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman chairs the weekly session of the Cabinet at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh. — SPA

Saudi Gazette report

The Council of Ministers on Tuesday slammed Iran for its irresponsible behavior in handling coronavirus cases and thus undermining international efforts to combat the virus.

“Iran bears direct responsibility for the outbreak of corona infection,” said the weekly session of the Cabinet, chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh.

Minister of Commerce and Acting Minister of Media Majed Al-Qasabi said in a statement to Saudi Press Agency following the session that the Cabinet condemned Iran’s irresponsible behavior of facilitating the entry of Saudi citizens to its territory without stamping their passports at the time when new coronavirus is spreading.

“This is dangerous to health and thus posing a threat to human safety and undermines international efforts to combat the virus,” the statement said.

The Cabinet affirmed that the measures taken in the Qatif governorate in the Eastern Province are temporary and that come within the framework of precautionary measures to prevent the transmission of infection as well as to enable the concerned health authorities to provide the best medical care to citizens and expatriates.

The Council lauded the cooperation extended by all and their response to these preventive measures to ensure their safety.

Al-Qasabi said the Cabinet reviewed the preventive efforts made and precautionary measures taken by all relevant government agencies to follow the developments of the corona-related health situation so as to ensure protection of the health of citizens and expatriates, and limiting the spread of the virus.

The Council expressed satisfaction over the positive results of those efforts, including health screening of more than half a million passengers at the entry ports into the Kingdom, and putting 2,032 people in home isolation and 468 people in quarantine, in addition to carrying out advanced laboratory tests on suspicious cases that identified 20 infected people who are currently under medical care in hospitals that equipped to deal with this disease.

The Council appreciated the World Health Organization (WHO) of its praise for the Kingdom’s efforts and measures to protect public health, especially its provision of financial support, amounting to SR10 million, in response to the urgent appeal from WHO to combat coronavirus.

“All these embody the Kingdom’s humanitarian role and keenness to harness its potential and resources in serving humanitarian issues for the good of mankind. This confirms the Kingdom’s continued follow-up of global developments regarding the extent of the spread of the virus, and providing full support to the concerned international organizations seeking to control it,” the Cabinet noted.

Al-Qasabi said the Cabinet highlighted the statement of the finance ministers and central bank governors of G20 on the repercussions of the spread of the coronavirus.

The statement underlined the importance of working with the international community to assist developing countries to cope with the impact of the outbreak and welcomed the steps taken by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other international organizations to help member countries by using their available instruments to the maximum extent possible.

These include funding to assist in emergency situations, policy advice and technical assistance as part of a coordinated global response as well as their full support for measures that countries are applying to contain the spread of the virus, treat the infected and prevent its spread.

Al-Qasabi said the Cabinet also referred to the statement issued by the Quartet Arab Ministerial Committee on the follow-up to the crisis with Iran.

The statement condemned the Iranian regime’s blatant and continuous violations of the international laws, charters and norms and its practices that threaten the security of the region, the stability of the Arab states, interference in their internal affairs and support for the armed militias that spread chaos in many Arab countries.

The committee stressed that the international community must assume its responsibilities regarding the Iranian hostile practices and sponsorship of terrorist activities in the region and the world, which pose a threat to international peace and security.

The Cabinet voiced the Kingdom’s condemnation of the failed attempt to assassinate Sudan’s prime minister and affirmed its rejection and denunciation of this cowardly terrorist act, as well as of any attempt to undermine Sudan’s security and stability.

Al-Qasabi said the Cabinet approved the creation of the Saudi Tourism Authority in line with the recommendation of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA).

It also endorsed the establishment of a national program under the name of the National Program for the Development of the Information Technology Sector. The Council gave the go ahead for the National Competitiveness Center to establish a unit for the support of laws and regulations at the center.

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