Saudi coronavirus cases pass 500 bringing total in Gulf to more than 1,700

Saudi Arabia reported a jump of almost a quarter in coronavirus cases on Sunday. The tally of cases in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council now stands at more than 1,700.

Saudi Arabia recorded 119 new cases of the virus for a total of 511, the highest in the Gulf Arab region, the Health Ministry said.

Abdelali said 72 of the new cases were Turkish nationals under quarantine in the holy city of Mecca after interacting with an infected compatriot.

“We are starting to see more cases linked to interactions … We advise everyone to stay home,” he told a news conference, adding that more than 4,000 people were under quarantine.

The region has expanded measures to combat the spread of the disease. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have taken some of the most drastic steps including halting international flights, suspending work at most institutions and closing public venues.

Gulf governments have announced stimulus packages to shield their energy-producing economies, which have also been hit by a collapse in oil prices.