Saudi students evacuated from coronavirus-hit Chinese city placed in quarantine

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Saudi students evacuated from China's coronavirus city disembark from a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane at Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport on Feb. 2, 2020. (SPA)
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Saudi health authorities receiving students evacuated from China's coronavirus city at Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport on Feb. 2, 2020. (SPA)
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Saudi health authorities receiving students evacuated from China's coronavirus city at Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport on Feb. 2, 2020. (SPA)
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Updated 03 February 2020

Saudi students evacuated from coronavirus-hit Chinese city placed in quarantine

  • The ten students were flown to Riyadh on a private plane dispatched by Saudi authorities
  • Health Ministry says tests on more than 4,000 air passengers since Jan. 20 have been found negative of the virus

JEDDAH/MANILA: Ten Saudi students were in quarantine on Sunday after being flown home from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak.

The students arrived in Riyadh on a private plane dispatched by Saudi authorities. They will spend two weeks in precautionary isolation, with full medical care and regular tests to guarantee their safety and prevent the spread of the virus.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said it will continue to evacuate citizens who are still in China, and follow up on their departure one by one.  

Meanwhile, precautions continue for all visitors to the Kingdom from China. More than 4,000 air passengers had been tested since Jan. 20, the Ministry of Health said on Sunday. Saudi Arabian Airlines also suspended flights from Riyadh and Jeddah to Guangzhou.

The airliner explained that its guests who have confirmed reservations on these trips can refund their tickets without any fees.

The Ministry of Health reassured citizens and residents once again that until now, there is no documented case of anyone affected by the novel coronavirus in the Kingdom.

Between January 20 and February 2, it has examined 62 samples and all tested negative for the coronavirus. 

Moreover, 3,152 passengers coming from China via direct flights, and 868 by indirect flights were examined in the same period. 

The ministry provided medical teams around the clock in all land, sea and air outlets which receive direct and indirect flights from China, and the National Health Laboratory has developed the necessary laboratory capacities to identify and detect the disease in record time since the emergence of the first contagious case in China and before the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the global epidemic.

Experience in handling more than 20 million pilgrims every year had given the Kingdom invaluable expertise in disease control and prevention, experts said. The new coronavirus has infected more than 14,000 people and killed 305 since it was identified in December.

All the deaths were in China until the Philippines said on Sunday that a 44-year-old Chinese visitor from Wuhan who tested positive for the virus had died. The man was the second confirmed case in the Philippines, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said. His wife, 38, was the first, and is undergoing treatment in medical isolation.


Notice setting date for Saudi international flights ‘is bogus’

Updated 46 min 25 sec ago

Notice setting date for Saudi international flights ‘is bogus’

  • Aviation chiefs issue official denial after fake circular says passengers can fly to and from Kingdom from October

RIYADH: A fake circular suggesting Saudi Arabia will resume international flights in October has been condemned as “completely baseless and fabricated” by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA).
Rumors that international flights will shortly return have been circulating on social media in recent weeks without any official statement from GACA.
On Tuesday, the authority denied announcing the resumption of international flights and said information being circulated was fabricated.
Saudi Arabia suspended international flights from March 15 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since domestic flights restarted on May 31, rumors have been circulating regarding the return of international flights. On Monday, the bogus GACA circular was shared on various social media platforms suggesting flights into and out of Saudi Arabia would resume in October. It sparked a flurry of speculation.
The circular, titled “No flights till October 2020,” said: “An employee of the GACA has stated in a recent interview that all international flights to and from the Kingdom are to remain suspended till the month of October.” Quoting a GACA official, the circular said that the decision was subject to the number of coronavirus cases, which must “come down to three digits.”
GACA official spokesman Ibrahim bin Abdullah Alrwosa told Arab News the circular “is completely baseless and fabricated.”
He shared a tweet from the authority’s public relations department describing the circular as incorrect.
The civil aviation authority has previously said there is no specific date for the resumption of international flights, he added.
All international flights remain suspended until further notice.
However, exceptions have been made for humanitarian assistance and emergency cases, medical evacuation flights and repatriation of stranded citizens and expatriates wanting to return home.