Saudi Arabia is going to end the countryside curfew and lift the restrictions on business from Sunday morning after three months of lockdown for containing the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19, state news agency SPA quoted a source from the interior ministry as saying on Saturday.

The curfew is going to be lifted as of 6 am local time on Sunday. The restrictions are however going to remain for the religious pilgrimages, international travel, and the social gatherings of an excess of 50 people.

Saudi to Relax COVID-19 Restrictions

Coronavirus
Doctors speak with cured novel coronavirus pneumonia patients in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 6, 2020. A total of 23 novel coronavirus pneumonia patients were cured and discharged from hospital on Thursday after integrated treatment with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine. (Xinhua/Li He/IANS) Xinhua/IANS

In May, it announced a three-phase plan to ease restrictions on movement and travel, culminating in the curfew completely ending on June 21. The number of coronavirus infections has risen in recent weeks following a relaxation of movement and travel restrictions on May 28. The kingdom has recorded 154,223 cases of COVID-19 and a total of 1,230 deaths, the highest in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.

Saudi Arabia plans to limit numbers at the annual haj pilgrimage to prevent a further outbreak of coronavirus cases, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month. Some 2.5 million pilgrims visit the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long haj, a once-in-a-lifetime duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. Saudi Arabia asked Muslims in March to put haj plans on hold and suspended the umrah pilgrimage until further notice.

(With agency inputs)