Saudi Arabia on Sunday began to loosen its nationwide curfew imposed last month to limit an outbreak of the new coronavirus.
Saudi King Salman ordered the curfew partially lifted starting from Sunday until May 13, allowing people to go out from 9 am (0600 GMT) until 5 pm, the state Saudi news agency SPA reported.
A 24-hour curfew will, however, remain in place in the holy city of Mecca, the agency added.
In his decree, the monarch also allowed some businesses, including shopping centres, retail and wholesale stores, and factories to reopen for two weeks, beginning next Wednesday.
The agency said the latest steps were taken on a recommendation from the health bodies and out of the monarch’s interest to ease restrictions on the public.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has suspended congregational prayers in mosques and halted religious journeys to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina as part of strict measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The country has reported so far a total of 1,699 virus cases and 136 deaths. (dpa/NAN)