The Chairman of the Third Committee of the permanent delegation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UN, Muhammad Khashaan, reviewed the efforts, policies and subsequently integrated comprehensive and non-exclusionary measures taken by the Kingdom in combating the emerging coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
In his speech during the general discussion session of the 59th session of the Commission for Social Development, under the UN Economic and Social Council, held virtually, he affirmed the support of the Kingdom’s permanent delegation to the UN for the statement delivered by the delegation of Guinea on behalf of the G77 countries and China.
Khashaan pointed out that this epidemic that threatens international health security has inflicted severe damage on the economies of the countries of the world, and has proven the fragility of the global system in facing it.
Furthermore, he pointed out that the Coronavirus has made everyone more aware of the importance of cooperation, solidarity, action and global coordination.
This will enable the fight against global health threats and establish solid foundations for strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth that will help the UN to lead international action in order to intensify global efforts towards combating pandemics.
Additionally he stated that the Kingdom was keen to protect the health and safety of its residents, as the policies and procedures concerned with combating this pandemic were integrated, comprehensive and non-exclusionary.
The Kingdom dealt with the threat of Corona seriously and issued several decisions and measures early on in order to slow its spread, indicating that the first confirmed case was recorded, infected with the virus in the Kingdom on March 2, 2020, he explained.
On February 27, 2020, the Kingdom’s government suspended the arrival of pilgrims and visitors to the Two Holy Mosques, and imposed a series of measures to legalize movement of citizens and residents.
It applied the concept of physical distancing, implemented curfews for limited periods, and banned travel between governorates and major urban areas, in addition to closing Mosques, schools, universities, cinemas, commercial centers, restaurants and public places.
It also suspended international and domestic flights, and continued to implement these measures during the month of Ramadan, which is one of the most important Islamic months.
Khashaan stated that the Kingdom recognized the negative impact of anti-virus measures on citizens and companies, so it implemented a wide range of economic stimulus measures, providing guarantees to cover 60% of the income of affected citizens working in the private sector.
It allowed business owners to postpone paying value-added taxes, production and income for a period of time. Three months, in addition to providing a support package for small and medium-sized enterprises as needed, amounting to 177 billion riyals, equivalent to $47 billion.
The government has pumped to the ministry of health 47 billion Saudi riyals, equivalent to more than $12 billion, and it has ordered the provision of free treatment to all the injured and that large-scale examinations be conducted among random groups of the population in order to for early detection of cases, and the launch of an electronic application that provides test results.
In his speech, he stressed that the Kingdom has exerted more efforts to increase its capacity, including building new mobile hospitals with a capacity of 100 beds each, and the possibility of moving them across the country as needed.