Saudi inks USD 265 mn deal with China to combat COVID-19

Riyadh [Saudi Arabia], April 27 (ANI): Saudi Arabia has signed a strategic deal worth USD 265 million with China to significantly expand the Kingdom's coronavirus testing capacity amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Gulf nation.

Beijing will provide as many as nine million COVID-19 tests to the Saudi government to help its COVID-19 relief effort, Al Arabiya reported citing Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

After a phone call between Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Chinese President Xi Jinping, the deal was agreed upon, which includes, 500 specialised Chinese experts and technicians who will test the people and train medics in the Kingdom.

The Saudi government will set up six regional labs as the Chinese health officials will ensure the quality of tests for a period of eight months, in addition to overseeing the field tests throughout the country.

In order to push its COVID-19 fight, Saudi Arabia has also made purchases from countries like the United States, Switzerland and South Korea, to reach its testing target of 14.5 million.

Saudi Health Minister Dr Tawfig al-Rabiah said on Sunday (local time), "The remarkable integration of government agencies in this crisis is succeeded by an outstanding leader, who works tirelessly, who has managed to create a harmonious team that works with high professionalism and his first concern is the citizen."

The country has so far recorded 17,522 cases with 139 deaths from the deadly virus. (ANI)