News Alerts

23 Mar 2020 | 09:55 AM UTC

Saudi Arabia: Nationwide curfew implemented March 23 /update 17

Saudi Arabia News Alert

Saudi authorities implement nationwide curfew amid COVID-19 spread March 23; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 3/23/2020, 12:00 AM until 4/30/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Riyadh). COUNTRY/REGION Saudi Arabia

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Event

Saudi authorities announced a nationwide curfew will be implemented beginning Monday, March 23, following an increase in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. The curfew will run from 19:00 to 06:00 (local time) for 21 days.

The government suspended all domestic transportation services for 14 days from 06:00 (local time) on Saturday, March 21, affecting domestic flights, trains, buses, and taxis. All international travel has been suspended for two weeks from Sunday, March 15, and most private sector business have been ordered to suspend operations for 15 days. Only businesses providing vital food, health, or utility services will remain operational. Malls, restaurants, coffee shops, and public parks are also closed.

To prevent further spread of the virus, authorities ordered a temporary lockdown of the eastern Qatif region, on Sunday, March 8, after 11 individuals from the area tested positive for the virus. All entry and exit into Qatif has been halted, and work at all government and private institutions has been suspended. The education minister announced on Sunday that all schools and universities nationwide will be suspended from Monday, March 9, until further notice.

As of Sunday, March 22, there are 511 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.

 

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