Thursday, March 12, 2020

COVID-19: Saudi Arabia bans travel to and from India, Kuwait airport shut

Saudi Arabia has placed a temporary ban on travel to and from a number of countries, including India, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The government of Saudi Arabia on Thursday announced that the temporary travel ban will be extended to its citizens and expatriates.

According to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the official news agency of Saudi Arabia, its government has suspended flights to and from India, the member-countries of European Union, Switzerland, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia.

According to SPA, citizens, expatriates and foreigners who were in these above list of countries 14 days prior to their departure to Saudi Arabia will also not be allowed to enter.

However, Indian and Philippines nationals who are working as health practitioners in Saudi Arabia have been exempted from this temporary ban, although they must take all necessary precautions. Evacuation, shipping and trade trips, too, have been exempted from the decision.

Citing an official from the Interior Ministry, the state news agency reported that the citizens and those with valid residency have 72 hours to return to Saudi Arabia, “before the travel suspension decision becomes effective”.

This comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 as a pandemic — the global spread of a new disease. Saudi Arabia has reported 45 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far, with 21 new cases being reported early Wednesday.
12/03/20 News Minute
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