Saudi authorities have seized more than five million medical masks that were illegally stockpiled amid the coronavirus outbreak, state media has reported, as the death toll in the kingdom doubled.
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On Wednesday, authorities confiscated more than four million masks stored in a facility in the western city of Jeddah, in violation of commercial regulations.
Pharmacies in the oil-rich kingdom have reported shortages of masks amid panic buying, as authorities warned against hoarding and price hikes, AFP reported.
Saudi Arabia is scrambling to limit the spread of the deadly disease at home.
The health ministry on Sunday said the death toll from Covid-19 had doubled to eight, as cumulative infections rose from 1,203 to 1,299 – the highest in the Gulf region.
Riyadh has imposed a nationwide partial curfew, barred entry and exit from the capital, as well as Islam’s two holiest cities Mecca and Medina and prohibited movement between all provinces.
The measures were applied to Riyadh, Mecca and Medina on Thursday for an initial 21 days.
On Sunday, the kingdom also barred entry and exit into Jeddah and brought forward a curfew in the port city, as it tries to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
King Salman warned last week of a “more difficult” fight ahead against the virus, as the country faces the economic double blow of virus-led shutdowns and crashing oil prices.
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