COVID19: Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights for 2 weeks
Arabia on Saturday said it would suspend all international flights for two
weeks, as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to control the spread of the new
coronavirus outbreak, the Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
The measure is set to be enforced from 11 am (0800 GMT) on
Sunday, the agency said, citing an unnamed source at the Interior Ministry.
“This (will be) an exceptional official holiday for citizens
and expatriates who were unable to return due to the suspension of flights or
they were in quarantine after their return back to the Kingdom,” the source
The announcement comes two days after Saudi Arabia
introduced new travel restrictions to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The announcement is also coming after the World Health
Organisation (WHO) said the outbreak had reached the level of a global
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia expanded its travel bans, halting
travel to and from all European Union countries and Switzerland.
The decision affects 11 other countries in Asia and Africa,
including India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia.
Saudi Arabia has already halted the Muslim Umrah pilgrimage
in the holy city of Mecca amid fears of an outbreak of the coronavirus.
Millions of Muslims worldwide travel to Saudi Arabia every
year to perform the Umrah, the minor pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any
time during the year.
The main Muslim pilgrimage, Hajj, is expected in late July
Saudi authorities have reported 86 confirmed cases of the
coronavirus, code-named COVID-19 by WHO.