Saudi Arabia suspends travel to 9 countries over coronavirus fears

Saudi Arabia suspends travel to 9 countries over coronavirus fears
Saudi Arabia suspends travel to 9 countries over coronavirus fears

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Saudi authorities have suspended travel by air and sea between the Kingdom and several Arab countries as well as South Korean and Italy amid growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported early Monday.

The Arab countries Included in the list are the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt and Iraq, said the SPA, quoting official sources from the Ministry of Interior.

The travel suspension applies to both citizens and foreigners living in the Kingdom, the SPA said.

It is the latest of a series of measures undertaken by the Kingdom to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the code name for the coronavirus that has originated in the city of Wuhan in China.

The Kingdom has suspended travel to and from China last month. 

Last week, the Kingdom stopped the entry into the Kingdom of vehicles by land from Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait, except for commercial vehicles. People traveling into the Kingdom from these countries were told to board flights to only the three major airports in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam where they can be checked by health aurhoties.

Also late on Saturday, the Saudi General Entertainment Authority announced early on Monday the closure of Riyadh Boulevard and Winter Wonderland due to concerns about the new coronavirus, Al Ekhbariya TV reported.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday recorded four more cases of the fast-spreading respiratory disease, raising the total to 11 cases.

The Kingdom also said it was suspending all educational and Qur'anic activities at mosques starting from Monday to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. 

The Saudi Ministry of Education said the “preventive and precautionary” measures were recommended by the health authorities and are designed to protect students and staff.

Earlier on Sunday, the Ministry of Interior said it will limit movement in the governorate of Qatif, to prevent the infected persons from spreading the disease.

All 11 cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom were residents of the Qatif, located in the Eastern Province. Most of them were said to have travelled to Iran, one of the worst hit by COVID-19.

Movement from and into the province will be temporarily suspended, but residents who are currently outside the area will be allowed back in, the ministry said.

Except those providing essential services and security, such as pharmacies, gas stations, healthcare, environmental, municipal and security facilities and shops, government and private sector work premises will be temporarily shut down.

Transportation of consumer items and supplies will still be allowed into the province, but with certain measures to ensure public health.



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