Saudi Arabia crushes Covid extortion ring in front of Haj


Saudi Arabia has arrested quite 120 people suspected of supplying or procuring fraudulent coronavirus vaccine and test certificates, official media said on Thursday, two days before a tightly controlled Haj.

The state-run SPA press agency said nine health ministry officials are among the accused, who have all pleaded guilty.

Some 60,000 Saudi residents with vaccine certificates will join this year’s religious pilgrimage, the second time the gathering has been massively curtailed due to the pandemic.

The suspects within the case of the fraudulent certificate are imagined to have used social media to advertise their services.

These included changing infection status, vaccination status, and whether one dose or two had been administered, SPA reported.

Twenty-one people — nine Saudi citizens and 12 residents — are accused of acting as intermediaries within the fraud.

Those accused of using illicit services are 76 citizens and 16 residents.

Saudi authorities announced in July that two health ministry officials were among several suspects arrested during a similar conspiracy to vary coronavirus data illegally. A criminal investigation was begun into that case, but the amount of suspects has not been disclosed.

More than 21 million coronavirus vaccines doses are administered within the Gulf nation of 34 million people, consistent with health ministry data published on Thursday.

On Wednesday the ministry announced 1,226 new cases and 14 deaths, bringing the entire number of infections to 504,960 and therefore the cumulative price to eight,020.

Only the vaccinated are going to be ready to enter government buildings, educational establishments, or entertainment venues or use conveyance as of August.

And only vaccinated workers in both the general public and personal sectors are going to be allowed to return to the workplace.

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