Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday stringent punitive measures against those violating precautionary and preventive regulations undertaken to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the new measures announced by the Ministry of Interior, a maximum fine of SR1million and jail term of five years will be awarded to those spreading rumours on social media sites and apps or publishing false information in order to cause panic or incite a violation of the pandemic related procedures and measures, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The ministry announced the following penalties prescribed for violators from among the Saudi citizens and expatriates.
1- A fine ranging between SR1,000 and SR100,000 or imprisonment for a period ranging between one month and a year, or of both for individuals or private sector establishments or their employees or those dealing with it for violation of the coronavirus-related precautionary and preventive measures. The firm will be closed for a period not exceeding six months if it is necessary. In the event of a repeat of the violation, the penalty will be doubled. The penalty amount for each violation shall be determined according to a classification schedule that includes each violation and the corresponding penalty, and it shall be approved by the Minister of Interior in agreement with the Minister of Health.
2- A fine ranging between SR10,000 and SR100,000 or jail term from one month to one year or of both for those who misuse the permit or permission letter granted for movement during curfew time for purposes other than what is assigned it for. The permit will be withdrawn and permission letter will be revoked.
3- A maximum fine of SR200,000 or a maximum two-year jail term or of both for those who violate the instructions of medical isolation or quarantine. In the event of a repeat of the offence, the penalty imposed will be doubled.
4- A maximum fine of SR500,000 or maximum five-year jail term or both for those who deliberately transmit the coronavirus infection to others. In the event of a repeat of the offence, the penalty will be doubled.
5- A fine ranging between SR10,000 and SR100,000 or jail term from one month to one year, or of both for anyone who facilitates those whose nature of work or circumstances do not require obtaining a permit or permission letter for movement during the curfew time. In the event of a repeat of the offence, the penalty will be doubled.
The ministry said that expatriates who commit any of these violations will be deported from the Kingdom and their reentry into the Kingdom will be banned forever. The application of the penalties stipulated in the previous clauses shall not prejudice any other punishment prescribed by the Islamic Shariah or any other law.
The source also pointed out that the ministry will announce a regulation to prevent social gatherings, and whoever violates its provisions will be slapped with a fine ranging between SR1,000 and SR100,000 or imprisonment between one month and a year, or of both.