Saudi king approves more private sector coronavirus crisis aid

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has approved an additional package of measures to help the private sector deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, its finance minister said.
The package includes 50 billion riyals ($266 million) to accelerate payment of private sector dues, provide liquidity to several sectors and cover wages of those working in passenger transport, Mohammed al-Jadaan said on Wednesday.
Another 47 billion riyals has been set aside for the health sector, to be disbursed as needed to build capacity, he added.
The country of some 30 million people reported 493 more cases of the novel coronavirus and six deaths on Wednesday to take its total to 5,862 with 79 deaths, the highest among the six Gulf Arab states.
The number of infections has steadily risen despite containment measures including suspending passenger flights, the umrah pilgrimage and most commercial activities and imposing a 24-hour curfew in major cities including the capital Riyadh.
In March, Jadaan announced the allocation of 70 billion riyals to support businesses as well as the postponement of some government fees and taxes.
Earlier this month, the king earlier ordered up to 9 billion riyals be disbursed to cover part of the wages of private sector workers to deter layoffs.
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