News Alerts

02 Apr 2020 | 04:51 PM UTC

Saudi Arabia: Authorities impose 24-hour curfew in Mecca and Medina April 2 /update 21

Saudi Arabia News Alert

Authorities impose 24-hour curfew in Mecca and Medina due to COVID-19 April 2; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/2/2020, 12:00 AM until 4/17/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Riyadh). COUNTRY/REGION Saudi Arabia, Mecca, Medina

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Event

On Thursday, April 2, Saudi authorities imposed a 24-hour curfew in Mecca and Medina, effective immediately, to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Per the directive, residents will only be permitted to leave their homes to shop for necessities between 06:00 and 15:00 (local time). Exemptions will be made for those employed in vital sectors, such as security, the military, and health services. Additionally, all commercial activities within the residential neighborhoods of Mecca and Medina will be shut down; pharmacies, foodstuff stores, gas stations, and banking services will remain open.

A lockdown imposed on the two cities on March 25 remains in effect. As such, all entry and exit into Mecca and Medina is barred.

To date, there are more than 1700 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 21 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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 nonessential 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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