Saudi Aramco has apologised for using a “human sanitiser” to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus after photos were circulated on social media.

Twitter users slammed the world’s biggest oil company for using a person as a portable sanitiser dispenser.

The state oil giant quickly voiced “extreme dismay” on social media as the photos were circulated and picked up by local and regional media.

Aramco said on Twitter that the action was taken without its approval.

“Saudi Aramco would like to express its extreme dismay at this offensive behaviour that was aimed at emphasising the importance of sterilisation,” Aramco said.

“The company immediately stopped this act and took strict measures to prevent it from happening again,” it said.

No more human hand sanitisers, says Aramco Photo: Twitter

There have been more than 119,000 worldwide cases of the deadly Covid-19 virus, which has, so far, claimed 4300 lives and is believed to have spread to at least 119 countries and territories.

On Wednesday, Norwegian operator Equinor confirmed that a worker at its under-development Martin Linge field off Norway has tested positive for the virus, but added the worker was not seriously ill. Equinor has decided to evacuate scores of personnel from its Martin Linge platform to reduce the risk of infection on the facility.