Saudi Arabia signs agreement to provide 9 million COVID-19 tests from China


RIYADH — Saudi Arabia, represented by the National Unified Procurement Company (NUPCO), has signed an important and strategic agreement here Sunday with the People's Republic of China, represented by BGI Group.

The agreement provides for the conducting of nine million (9,000,000) COVID-19 tests, and includes the provision of the necessary devices and supplies, and 500 experts, specialists, and technicians to conduct these tests, at a total value of SR995 million.

This agreement was finalized following the implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, and as a result of a phone call with the Chinese president.

The agreement includes the establishment of six large regional laboratories in a number of areas in Saudi Arabia, including a mobile laboratory with a production capacity of 10,000 tests daily — a number that can be doubled.

The contract also includes the conducting of 50,000 tests per day to diagnose COVID-19 cases, and the conducting of comprehensive community testing.

Also included are the analysis of the genetic mapping of a number of samples in the Kingdom, and analysis of the community's immunity mapping of 1,000,000 samples; these activities will have the greatest impact in supporting the management of the country's plans to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This important contract is an addition to the Negotiating and Purchasing Committee’s award to a number of companies from the USA, Switzerland and South Korea to purchase additional quantities of reagents and tests, bringing the number of targeted tests to 14.5 million, which represent nearly 40% of the Saudi population,” Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, general supervisor general of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief) said.

“The diligent follow-up and great attention from the strong leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince embody their keen commitment to sparing our beloved country and its loyal people, and everyone else who lives in the Kingdom, from the consequences of this pandemic.”

“The large number of tests provided for in this agreement clearly indicates that the Kingdom is in a race against time to diagnose cases and to work to isolate them in a way that reduces the risks from this pandemic globally,” Al Rabeeah added

The Negotiating and Purchasing Committee, headed by Al Rabeeah, also confirmed — according to the generous directives of the Kingdom’s leadership — that it is striving to provide as soon as possible large quantities of devices, medicines, and medical supplies necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic from leading specialized international companies.

The committee will coordinate with the Ministry of Health and other health entities to provide extra medical beds in hospitals as well as field beds together with a workforce necessary to operate the project in parallel with the large expansion witnessed in these sectors, during these difficult circumstances.