Dozens of American diplomats and their families will leave Saudi Arabia on Saturday amid a sharp increase in cases of coronavirus infection in the Kingdom, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.
According to them, the state Department last week allowed all non-emergency personnel to leave the country. More diplomats are expected to leave Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks, the newspaper reports.
According to US officials, at least 30 employees of the US Embassy in Riyadh-mostly non – Americans – have contracted the coronavirus, despite mostly working from home since March. In June, an Embassy driver died of coronavirus, and later a family member of one of the diplomats was denied emergency medical care in a hospital. The Embassy had to intervene, the newspaper reports.
Last month, the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs received a message in which someone expressed concerns about how the Saudi authorities were handling the pandemic, after which the Committee contacted the state Department, sources say. According to the publication, some US diplomats are also concerned that the authorities are hiding the accurate scale of the outbreak and may be seriously underestimating the number of COVID-19 cases.
Earlier it was reported that the number of cases of coronavirus in Saudi Arabia exceeded 200 thousand. Despite a steady increase in the name of coronavirus patients, Saudi Arabia began gradually easing restrictions at the end of May, allowing domestic flights and movements between provinces. Mosques have started working again in the country.