Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia Suspends Flights and Sea Travels to and from 9 Countries

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The decision has been taken out of the concern to protect the health of the citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia. — File photo

Qatar, Kuwait have already barred travellers from select countries to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Clarion India

RIYADH — Saudi Authorities on Monday announced the suspension of travel by air and sea between the Kingdom and nine countries to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country as four more new COVID-19 cases discovered.

The Saudi Ministry of Health said the new cases include a Saudi national, two Bahrainis and an American, reports the Arab News.

Earlier on Monday, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that the authorities were suspending travel for Saudi citizens and foreign residents to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Italy and South Korea.

People travelling from those countries or anyone who has been there in the past 14 days would also be temporarily banned from entering the Kingdom.

 

The discovery of the four new cases brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Kingdom to 15. On Sunday, the health ministry announced that four more cases of the fast-spreading respiratory disease were confirmed in Qatif, raising the total to 11 cases.

A statement by the Saudi health ministry said the first case was a Saudi citizen who is related to a previous case in Qatif. The patient is now isolated in a hospital.

The second and third patients are Bahraini women coming from Iraq on their way to Bahrain. Both were isolated in a hospital also in Qatif.

A ministry spokesperson said the fourth case involved a US national returning to the Kingdom from travel, and passed to the Philippines and Italy before his arrival in the Kingdom.

The patient was transferred to a hospital set up for isolation in Riyadh, the spokesperson said.

The travel ban to the nine countries 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 travelers by land transportation from Bahrain, the UAE and Kuwait. Only commercial vehicles are allowed, according to the report.

People traveling into the Kingdom from these countries were told to board flights only through the three major airports in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam where they can be checked by health authorities.

The kingdom has also announced that schools and universities in the country will be closed from Monday as part of “preventive and precautionary” measures recommended by health authorities.

The decision covers all educational institutions, including public and private schools, and technical and vocational training institutions and also all educational and Qur’anic activities at mosques.

Qatar imposes travel ban from 14 countries

Meanwhile, Qatar has temporarily barred travellers from 14 countries from March 9 as a precaution against the rapidly spreading coronavirus, the government announced on Sunday, reports Reuters.

The ban covers China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand.

Qatar Airways had already suspended flights to and from Italy.

Qatar reported three more cases of the virus on Sunday, bringing the total there to 15.

Kuwait has already suspended operations of all flights to and from India and six other countries in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

 

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