What gives Saudi Arabia the confidence to ease coronavirus restrictions

Teams from the Ministry of Commerce and Investment have conducted tens of thousands of field inspections across the Kingdom, detected thousands of violations and levied instant fines. (AN Photo)

RIYADH (RAHNUMA): As Saudi Arabia implements a three-stage plan to introduce a return to normal life in less than a month, experts have urged citizens and residents to keep practicing social distancing, wear face masks in public settings and maintain hand hygiene among other precautionary measures.

The confidence behind the government’s move to relax the coronavirus lockdown stems not just from the hope that all sectors will abide by the officially recommended preventive protocols, but also from adequate stocks of essential commodities and protective items such as face masks, hand sanitizers and gloves.

There are an estimated 50 industrial units in the Kingdom that produce medical goods, along with seven factories dedicated to the development of respiratory devices. Each is doing its part to serve the country and its residents at a critical moment in history.

One of them is Enayah, Saudi Arabia’s largest manufacturer of medical masks and gowns and comprehensive medical packs. On any given day, the production lines at the Enayah factory in Riyadh hum with the noise of blue and yellow plastic sheets being turned by machines and skilled workers into surgical gowns and other medical products that meet international standards.

“We are producing medical products for the local market. We are also exporting to the GCC and Arab countries as well as to Europe through our foreign partners,” Abdel Hakim Al-Madhi, general manager of Enayah, told Arab News.

Enayah, which is making 250,000 comprehensive medical packs a week, has set for itself a production target of 800,000 gowns a week and a total of 10 million medical masks for the month of June.

“What we are seeing today is an abundance of goods and commodities in all markets, hypermarkets, stores and warehouses,” said Abdulrahman Al-Hussain, spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI).

He said that unlike many other countries that ran into problems at the start of the crisis, the Kingdom’s markets did not experience any shortage or instability.

He attributed the situation to the crisis and contingency plans put in place by the Saudi government, especially the MCI and its partners, who worked with a clear purpose and focus to produce such an outcome.

“Consumers are satisfied. Consumer confidence in Saudi Arabia is ranked first in the world and surpasses the levels of more than 35 international economies,” Al-Hussain told Arab News.

“The adequate levels of supplies that we have witnessed during this crisis are the result of rationing.”

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