Saudi Arabia: More than 20 people cannot stay together

Visitors walk near the King Fahd Library, following an outbreak of coronavirus, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia March 12, 2020. Picture taken March 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
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Saudi Arabia began on Friday enforcing the new health regulations for collective housing for individuals, and stipulated health and technical protocols set by government sectors.

Under the guidelines, 20 persons and more may not be housed collectively – regardless of the period of their residence (male or female) – in places inside or outside the urban area, unless the health protocols set by the labour committees since the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, are met.

The Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs will set up permanent committees from the ministries of Interior, Municipal and Rural Affairs, Health, Human Resources and Social Development, and Housing, whose task would be to monitor and inspect those group housing in relation to abidance by the protocols set by health and other sectors regarding housing inside and outside cities, and controlling violations that appear to them.

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These committees shall report the seized violations to the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs – or whoever he delegates – with the proposal of the appropriate penalty, and they may shut down the house if the need arises.

The fine will be issued by a decision of the Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs or his delegate, and any person booked on the basis of these guidelines may challenge the fine before the administrative court in accordance with the system of pleadings before the Board of Grievances.

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Offenders of the health protocols shall face a jail term not exceeding 30 days, or a fine not exceeding one million riyals ($266,000) for each violation, or both, and the penalties will multiply for multiple violations.

Penalties will be toughened in times of crisis such as the outbreak of epidemics, infectious diseases, natural disasters, acts of terrorism or wars, with offenders facing jail time not exceeding 180 days, or a fine not exceeding one million Saudi riyals, or both, and penalties will multiply for multiple offences.

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