China, Saudi Arabia cut $265 million deal to fight coronavirus

China, Saudi Arabia cut $265 million deal to fight coronavirus
China will provide Saudi Arabia with medical experts and testing kits as part of a multi-million dollar deal cut between the two states.
2 min read
27 April, 2020
China will provide nine million testing kits as part of the deal [Getty]
China will provide Saudi Arabia with coronavirus tests and medical experties in a 995 million riyal (264.6 million) deal agreed between the two states, Abdullah Al-Rabiah, chairman of the Negotiation and Purchase Committee said on Sunday, citing a royal decree.

Riyadh will receive nine million kits, allowing for a testing capacity of 50,000 people per day. Five hundred Chinese medical experts will also travel to the kingdom, running six laboratories.

The Saudi purchase committee also procured testing kits from firms in the US, Switzerland and South Korea, bringing the number of targeted tests to 14.5 million - roughly 40 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population, Bloomberg reported.

Saudi Arabia
, which has reported the highest number of infections in the Arab world, is scrambling to limit the spread of the disease at home. 

On Sunday, figures showed the deaths from the respiratory illness had risen to 136, while confirmed infections rose to 16,299 with 2,215 people reported to have recovered from the illness. 

Last month, Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round "umrah" pilgrimage over fears of the coronavirus pandemic spreading in Islam's holiest cities.

Read also: Egypt arrests group for 'making mock Umrah pilgrimage around fake Kaaba' despite coronavirus measures

Authorities are yet to announce whether they will proceed with this year's hajj, scheduled for the end of July, but they have urged Muslims to temporarily defer preparations for the annual pilgrimage.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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