Saudi Arabia to give $133,000 to families of health workers who died in Covid-19 pandemic

Saudis and residents will qualify for the payments

Mohammed Alabed Alali, Saudi Arabia's health minstry spokesman, addresses reporters during a press briefing about COVID-19 coronavirus disease, in the capital Riyadh on March 8, 2020 Saudi authorities on March 8 cordoned off the eastern Qatif region, a stronghold of the kingdom's Shiite minority, in a bid to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, the interior ministry said. The kingdom has expressed alarm over the spread of the disease across the Gulf region, which has confirmed more than 230 coronavirus cases -- most of them people returning from religious pilgrimages to Shiite-majority Iran. The Eastern Province -- which includes Qatif -- has seen bouts of unrest since 2011 when protesters emboldened by the Arab Spring uprisings took to the streets. / AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE

Families of healthcare workers who died of Covid-19 while helping people in Saudi Arabia’s hospitals will be given 500,000 riyals ($133,000) as a gesture of thanks.

Minister of Health and Chairman of the Saudi Health Council, Dr Tawfiq Al Rabiah said the process of compensating families had begun and applied to those whose family members worked in the government funded and private parts of the sector.

Dr Al Rabiah said Saudi Arabia had "made great efforts to contain this epidemic, control the situation and prevent its spread by all scientific and practical means, while the state allocated huge budgets to enhance the readiness of the health sector".

Cases of coronavirus in Saudi Arabia are dropping, with Saturday being the third day in a row that new cases remained under 1,000.

Vaccinations are rising, with 29.5 million doses having been handed out so far, the government says. Close to ten million people are fully inoculated, and nearly 20 million have had one dose.

Also on Sunday, the Saudi authorities moved to reassure people that vaccines were safe.

Spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Dr Mohammed Al Abdali, said no deaths had been recorded as a result of Covid-19 vaccines, and warned people against believing rumours.

Saudi Arabia has approved the Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for use. Sinopharm and Sinovac are yet to be approved.

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Updated: August 8th 2021, 6:31 PM