Expats outside a restaurant in the Saudi city of Al Khobar. Illegal migrant workers are being blamed for the spread of COVID-19 through their large gatherings and residents are complaining that they violate regulations. Image Credit: Al Youm

Cairo: Saudis in the eastern city of Al Khobar have said that migrant workers are spreading COVID-19 via large gatherings while the kingdom battles to stem the potentially fatal disease.

“Labour gatherings lead to dangers including the spread of diseases such as the new coronavirus,” Saudi national Ebrahim al Qahtani, told Al Youm newspaper.


He accused illegal expatriates of involvement in unlawful practices including trafficking in illicit goods.

“The presence of workers causes problems and there should be solutions,” said Ahmed Ali, another Saudi living in Al Khobar. “Large numbers of them violate regulations,” he added, urging officials to take action, including deportation of illegals.

For Ahmed Al Anazi, a Saudi resident of Al Khobar, illegals are like a ticking bomb. “They do not commit themselves to any health measures such as social distancing, wearing protective face masks or hand sanitisation,” he said.

The paper said that the Al Khobar branch of the Ministry of Human Resources, responsible for expatriates, did not respond to its requests for a comment.

Foreigners account for about 10.5 million of Saudi Arabia’s total 34.8 million population.