A Saudi man, wearing a protective mask as a precaution against COVID-19 coronavirus disease, walks past a mural showing the face of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, along Tahlia street in the centre of the capital Riyadh Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: A man, arrested for spitting at trolleys at a shopping mall in Saudi Arabia, could face a death sentence if convicted, a prosecution source has said.

The unidentified offender had been arrested after he had been reportedly seen spitting at the shopping trolleys in the region of Hail in north-western Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom is battling to contain the novel coronavirus.

After apprehension, the man was remotely interrogated, according to the source. The motive for the act is not clear yet.

"His act is considered among major crimes," the source said, according to Saudi online newspaper Ajel. "This behaviour is religiously and legally condemned. It is regarded as imparting corruption by deliberately seeking to spread the coronavirus epidemic among members of society and stirring panic among them," the source added.

Punishment for the act can reach the death penalty, the source added.

Saudi authorities have reported two deaths from the highly contagious disease among a total of 900 cases. The kingdom has taken a series of measures against the virus.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia started enforcing a nationwide curfew. As of Thursday, movement among the country's 13 regions is banned. The curfew will, meanwhile, start four hours earlier at 3 pm in the cities of Riyadh, Mecca and Medina.