Travel bans extended as four new coronavirus deaths announced in Saudi Arabia


March 29, 2020


  • The ministry said total death toll increased to eight
  • The ministry called on citizens to avoid rumors and seek information from official sources

A picture taken on March 26, 2020, shows Saudi policemen manning a checkpoint in the King Fahd Causeway in the capital Riyadh, after the Kingdom began implementing an 11-hour nationwide curfew. (AFP)


By Ruba Obaid | Arab News


JEDDAH – Saudi Arabia extended the suspension of international and internal flights as well as work in the private and public sectors until further notice as coronavirus cases rose to 1,299 — in addition to four new deaths — the Health Ministry announced on Sunday.

The government has also banned entry and exit to the city of Jeddah and extended curfew hours to start at 3 p.m. local time. The same precautionary measure were imposed earlier on the cities of Qatif, Riyadh, Makkah and Madinah.

Suspension of public transport services including trains, buses and taxis has been extended until further notice.

International flights were discontinued on March 15 while domestic flights were on March 21. However, Saudi Public security has assigned an emergency team to receive urgent requests to move between the country’s regions for 24 hours.

The Saudi Health Ministry announced 96 new cases on Sunday, including 28 cases related to travel and 68 cases linked to being in direct contact with previously announced cases.

There are 29 new recoveries confirmed, taking the total number of recoveries to 66, while patients in ICU rose from four to 12 with fourth deaths recorded today, two of which were in Madina and two in Jeddah, as the death toll rose to eight as of today.

Health Ministry spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, said that the virus incubation period was 14 days, and different from the sickness period that begins with the appearance of symptoms.

“Usually symptoms reach their peak for two to three days maximum,” Al-Aly said. “However, the period between the appearance of symptoms until complete recovery varies according to age, health status and, more crucially, how long access to health care was delayed.”

Al-Aly said that Saudi Arabia’s health care absorptive capacity was under constant evaluation, and in case any additional interventions were required, emergency plans were ready to be implemented when necessary.

Volunteer initiatives and opportunities were open for individuals, charities, profit and non-profit organizations, as well as government institutions and agencies, and they were not limited to health care.

“We have various organized programs available within the umbrella of the community partnership provided by the Ministry of Health,” Al-Aly said.

He also encouraged people to perform daily self-check-tests using the available options such as the Mawid app.

Deaths caused by the coronavirus rose to eight, as the ministry announced four new cases of non-local residents in Jeddah and Madinah, with two cases in each city.

Movement restrictions do not include groups previously exempt from the curfew.

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