Saudi Arabia has suspended international flights for two weeks starting Sunday Mar 15 at 11 a.m. as a preventive and precautionary measure to control COVID-19, state news agency SPA reported on Saturday (Mar 14).
International flights will be allowed for exceptional cases, said SPA citing an official source at the Ministry of Interior.
SPA said that due to the suspension, it will be “an exceptional official holiday for citizens and expatriates who were unable to return due to the suspension of flights or they were in quarantine after their return back to the Kingdom”.
Saudi Arabia has been gradually increasing preventive and precautionary measures amid the continued outbreak of COVID-19.
Most recently on Mar 12 it suspended travel of its citizens and resident expatriates to more countries including those of the EU, Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia.
Prior to Mar 12 it suspended travel for its citizens and resident expatriates to Oman, France, Germany, Turkey and Spain, after it earlier made the same decision for UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy and Iraq.
On Feb 27 the Kingdom suspended all entries for umrah.
Saudi Arabia had 103 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as at Mar 15, according to World Health Organisation data.
Globally, WHO registered 153,517 confirmed cases and 5,736 deaths as at Mar 15. 72,469 confirmed cases were outside of China, with Italy hit by 21,157, Iran with 12,729, South Korea with 8,162, Spain with 5,753, France 4,469, and Germany 3,795.
Countries such as Italy, France, and Germany have imposed compulsory lockdowns, closing schools and non-essential shops.
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