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Fri 20 Mar 2020 01:17 AM

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Saudi Arabia orders arrest of duo for drinking steriliser to ward off virus

Public prosecutor takes action after video of two people drinking a disinfectant in a bid to stave off the new coronavirus

Saudi Arabia orders arrest of duo for drinking steriliser to ward off virus

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor on Thursday ordered the arrest of two people who appeared in a video drinking a disinfectant in a bid to stave off the new coronavirus.

The young men were separately seen gulping down a steriliser in a video that went viral, triggering a flurry of angry comments online.

On Twitter, the public prosecution office said it ordered the men to be arrested for "drinking a disinfectant that is not suitable for human consumption" and "misleading people that it will protect them from the coronavirus".

One Twitter user demanded the "most severe punishment" for the duo, saying they put other young people at risk as they could be tempted to imitate them.

Saudi Arabia has reported 274 coronavirus cases but no deaths so far.

The Arab world's biggest economy has shut down cinemas, malls and restaurants, halted flights and suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage in a bid to contain the deadly virus.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday suspended prayers inside all its mosques except the holiest two sites in Islam as it steps up efforts to contain the virus.

More than 1,000 cases of the virus have been recorded so far across the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

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