News Alerts

26 May 2020 | 05:16 PM UTC

Saudi Arabia: Authorities to gradually remove curfews nationwide between May 28-June 21 /update 36

Saudi Arabia News Alert

Saudi government to ease and subsequently remove curfews nationwide, exceptions for Mecca, between May 28-June 21; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/26/2020, 12:00 AM until 6/22/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Riyadh). COUNTRY/REGION Saudi Arabia

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Event

On Tuesday, May 26, the Saudi Arabian government announced it intends to introduce the phased lifting of curfews nationwide between Thursday, May 28, and Sunday, June 21. On Sunday, May 24, 24-hour curfews were imposed nationwide due to the Eid al-Fitr holiday period. The first phase of easing of restrictions will see the 24-hour curfew replaced with a 15:00 to 06:00 (local time) curfew from May 28. Free movement between regions and the resumption of retail and wholesale activities will also be permitted from Thursday.

In the second phase, from Sunday, May 31, a curfew will be in place between 20:00 and 06:00. Domestic flights will also be able to resume and mosques will be permitted to hold prayers, subject to certain health and safety criteria, and with exceptions for Mecca. Public and private sector employees will be allowed to return to their offices. Social gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned, including at weddings and funerals.

Finally, on Sunday, June 21, all curfews will be lifted, again with exceptions for Mecca. Citizens will continue to be urged to practice social distancing and to wear masks in public after this date. The suspension of international flights and pilgrimages will remain in place until further notice.

Mecca will essentially remain a stage behind the rest of the country. Curfew times between 15:00 and 06:00 will be in place until Saturday, June 20, and from 20:00 to 06:00 from June 21. Prayers will also not be permitted to resume on mosques until June 21.

As of May 26, there have been 76,726 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the kingdom, and 411 associated deaths. 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) labeled the outbreak as a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble 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 COVID-19 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 virus.

 

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