DUBAI: Saudi Arabia signed a deal worth more than USD 264 million with China to provide the kingdom with the ability to conduct 9 million COVID-19 tests.
The deal signed on Sunday and announced by Saudi Arabia also provides the kingdom with 500 personnel to conduct the tests in six laboratories that will be established across the country. Saudi Arabia says the agreement with China's BGI Group indicates the kingdom is "in a race against time to diagnose cases and to work to isolate them".
The contract also includes conducting comprehensive community testing, genetic mapping of a number of samples in the kingdom, and analysis of immunity mapping from 1 million samples. Saudi Arabia has also signed agreements with companies in the US, South Korea and Switzerland with the aim of testing 40 per cent of people in the country.
More than 17,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in Saudi Arabia, including more than 130 deaths.