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Saudi Arabia to buy 9 million COVID-19 tests from China

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has signed a deal worth 995 million riyals with China to purchase nine million COVID-19 test kits.
The agreement provides for the conducting of nine million COVID-19 tests and includes the provision of the necessary devices and supplies. The contract includes 500 experts, specialists, and technicians to conduct the tests.
The agreement was signed by the National Unified Procurement Company (NUPCO) of Saudia Arabia and China’s BGI Group. It follows the directives of King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and as a result of a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It includes the construction of six large-scale laboratories in a number of areas in Saudi Arabia, including a mobile laboratory with a capacity of 10,000 tests daily. The Chinese group will also train Saudi cadres as well as conduct, verify and ensure the quality of tests for eight months.
The contract also includes the conducting of 50,000 tests per day to diagnose COVID-19 cases and the conducting of comprehensive community testing.
It includes the analysis of the genetic mapping of a number of samples in the kingdom, and analysis of the community’s immunity mapping of 1,000,000 samples. This will help support the management of the country’s plans to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The large number of tests provided for in this agreement clearly indicates that the Kingdom is in a race against time to diagnose cases and to work to isolate them in a way that reduces the risks from this pandemic,” said Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, chairman of the Saudi negotiating and purchasing committee.
Al-Rabeeah and Chinese Ambassador Chen Weiqing witnessed the signing of the agreement between the two companies. Saudi Arabia recorded 1,223 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, increasing the total to 17,522, and the death toll rose to 139. 
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