RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia has begun compensating the families of health workers who died because of the coronavirus, state media reported on Sunday, after announcing last year that each will receive $133,000.
The kingdom said in October it would distribute “500,000 Saudi riyals to the families of those who died as a result of COVID-19 working in the health sectors, be it government or private, civilian or military, Saudi or non-Saudi”.
The oil-rich Gulf country said the decision applies from “the date of the first recorded infection” in the country on March 2, 2020.
The official Saudi Press Agency announced the start of the distribution of funds to the families of those who have died as a result of the pandemic.
They “gave their lives in the fight against the pandemic to preserve the health and safety of citizens and residents in the kingdom”, SPA said.
It is unclear how many health workers have died because of Covid-19 in Saudi Arabia, where thousands of foreigners are employed as medical staff.
The government has accelerated a nationwide vaccination drive as it seeks to revive tourism and other pandemic-hit sectors, such as sports competitions and entertainment.
More than 29 million does of vaccine have been administered in the country of 35 million people, the health ministry announced on Saturday.
Vaccination is mandatory for anyone wanting to enter government and private establishments, including education institutions and entertainment venues, as well as to use public transport.
Saudi Arabia has registered nearly 533,000 coronavirus cases and more than 8,300 deaths.