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Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Says Real Impact of COVID-19 Expected in Second Quarter of 2020

© REUTERS / Handout .Workers clean and sterilise the roof of Kaaba, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia April 21, 2020
Workers clean and sterilise the roof of Kaaba, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia April 21, 2020 - Sputnik International
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BEIRUT (Sputnik) - The full impact of the coronavirus pandemic will reveal itself in the second quarter of this year, Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said in an interview with local media.
"Expenses must be reduced to cope with the fallout from coronavirus and we need to be careful not to increase the cost of debt", the minister said in an interview with Al Arabiya TV on Saturday. "The real impact of the coronavirus pandemic will appear in the second quarter, and we have to face a very big revenue shock", he said.

According to Al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia is considering a wide range of "strict and painful measures" to cut spending.

"We must tighten the belt and come out of the crisis strong", the finance minister said, stressing that "the journey ahead is long".

Al-Jadaan said that Saudi Arabia, as well as the world as a whole, will not return to what it was like before the coronavirus pandemic and suggested that economic processes will undergo significant changes.

In April, Saudi Arabian Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan said that his country was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting significant drop in oil revenues from a position of strength, since serious reforms had been carried out in the country in recent years, while also indicating that Saudi Arabia had enough of a buffer to deal with the low prices.

As of 2 May, 3,272,202 people have contracted the novel coronavirus, with over 230,000 fatalities registered, the World Health Organization count shows. According to data from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre, more than 3.4 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed globally since the start of the pandemic in December of last year. The global death toll from the viral disease stands at over 242,000.

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