Saudi Arabia warns its citizens, residents from travel to China - GulfToday

Saudi Arabia warns its citizens, residents against travel to China

Saudi ban 1

A doctor wearing a face mask looking at a lung CT image of a patient at a hospital in Wuhan. File photo/AFP

Many countries have taken measures on a war footing to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Some of the foreigners who have been afflicted with the virus in China were flown home and quarantined in the process. Many countries have imposed travel curbs on their nationals.

The latest country to do so is Saudi Arabia which on Thursday barred its citizens and residents of the kingdom from travelling to China.

The kingdom's General Directorate of Passports said the measure was in response to the new virus believed to have stemmed from central China.

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It warned that any residents of the kingdom who violate this order will not be allowed to return to Saudi Arabia. It also said that regulatory provisions on travel documents would be applied to citizens who violate the travel ban, without further elaboration. The statement was carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s flagship national carrier, Saudi, joined other major airlines in suspending flights to China. Also on Sunday, 10 Saudi students were evacuated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, and quarantined upon arrival to Riyadh for two weeks.

The virus has not yet been detected in Saudi Arabia.

The viral outbreak that began in China has infected more than 28,200 people globally. China has had over 560 deaths and a death has also occurred in the Philippines.

The virus, believed to have originated in wild animals sold at a food market in Wuhan, is part of a family of coronaviruses, including MERS and SARS, and causes fever, cough and shortness of breath. It is particularly deadly among people over 60 and those with preexisting illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

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