A criminal investigation was begun into that case, but the number of suspects has not been disclosed
RIYADH (AFP) – Saudi Arabia has arrested more than 120 people suspected of supplying or procuring fraudulent coronavirus vaccine and test certificates, official media said on Thursday (July 15), two days before a tightly controlled haj.
The state-run SPA news 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 because of the pandemic.
The suspects in the fraudulent certificates case are alleged 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 in the fraud.
Those accused of using the illicit services are 76 citizens and 16 residents.
Saudi authorities announced in July that two health ministry officials were among several suspects arrested in a similar conspiracy to change coronavirus data illegally.
A criminal investigation was begun into that case, but the number of suspects has not been disclosed.
More than 21 million coronavirus vaccine does have been administered in the Gulf nation of 34 million people, according to health ministry data published on Thursday.
On Wednesday the ministry announced 1,226 new cases and 14 deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 504,960 and the cumulative death toll to 8,020.
Only the vaccinated will be able to enter government buildings, educational establishments or entertainment venues or use public transport from August.
And only vaccinated workers in both the public and private sectors will be allowed to return to the workplace.
More on this topic Related Story Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia: A look at one of the largest religious gatherings in the world Related Story S’pore pilgrims’ haj to be deferred for 2nd year due to Covid-19 pandemic: Muis Related Stories: Related Story Dine in for 5 resumes, S’poreans welcome chance to eat with friends, family at same table Related Story ‘I’m old and dying, so what’s the point of getting vaccinated?’: Seniors yet to get the Covid-19 jab Related Story S’pore’s Covid-19 rules from July 12: 9 things you need to know Related Story Covid-19 curbs in Seoul may be raised to highest level as new cases surge Related Story Indonesia expands nationwide Covid-19 curbs Related Story Made-in-Malaysia Covid-19 vaccine expected to be ready in 2024 Related Story Israel sees decline in Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine efficacy rate due to Delta variant Related Story Moving from Covid-19 pandemic to endemic: Singapore’s strategy and how it can unfold Join ST’s Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.