Saudi Arabia quarantines dozens linked to coronavirus case, restricts entry for GCC residents and citizens

Saudi Arabia quarantines dozens linked to coronavirus case, restricts entry for GCC residents and citizens
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Updated 04 March 2020

Saudi Arabia quarantines dozens linked to coronavirus case, restricts entry for GCC residents and citizens

Saudi Arabia quarantines dozens linked to coronavirus case, restricts entry for GCC residents and citizens
  • Kingdom places travel restrictions on GCC residents and citizens who have been outside Gulf countries
  • Some 1,400 isolation rooms had been set up in the Kingdom’s hospitals

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia moved on Tuesday to tighten its borders amid the growing global threat from the coronavirus.

The Kingdom, which has reported only one case of the infection, barred people from other GCC countries from entering Saudi Arabia for 14 days after returning from areas where the virus is present. Travelers from another Gulf state must spend 14 consecutive days in that country and show no signs of the coronavirus.

Saudi citizens or residents entering from a GCC country must inform authorities in the Kingdom of any travel outside the GCC in the preceding 14 days. Everyone entering by land, including the Bahrain causeway, will be screened.

Saudi Arabia announced its first coronavirus case on Monday - a Saudi who had traveled from Iran via Bahrain over the King Fahad Causeway. Iran has one of the worst outbreaks outside of China, where COVID-19 originated.

A Saudi Ministry of Health spokesman on Tuesday said the infected person was in a stable condition and is being monitored by medical staff. 

Some 70 people who had been in physical contact with the person are now in quarantine.

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Civil aviation chiefs have also stepped up preventive measures at airports and on Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia). Medical teams are examining all passengers from virus-prevalent areas, aircraft at risk of infection are being deep cleaned and sterilized, and Saudia is offering masks, cleansing kits and anti-bacterial wipes to passengers and crew.

There have been about 2,500 cases of the virus in the Gulf, almost all in or linked to Iran, which has been accused of covering up the extent of the infection despite reporting the highest number of deaths outside China. 

Authorities in Tehran said on Tuesday the country had 2,336 cases and 77 deaths. The death rate of 3.3 percent of those infected is similar to the global rate and suggests that Iran is finally telling the truth about the virus’s spread.

In the UAE, which has reported 21 cases, an international yoga festival and the Ultra electronic music festival in Abu Dhabi this month were canceled, as were the Music Bank K-pop concert and a Hindu Holi festival in Dubai. The flagship Art Dubai fair was postponed,  along with a women's forum and the opening round of the 2020 World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi.

Authorities in Muscat canceled a defense exhibition and postponed the Oman Petroleum & Energy Show. Qatar canceled a defense exhibition and Bahrain postponed two oil and gas conferences until the second half of the year. Kuwait moved the regional multisport GCC Games from April to December, closed its zoo and banned shisha.

Worldwide, the coronavirus has infected more than 90,000 people and killed about 3,100 in 77 countries, although almost all in China, where it was first detected last December. Ukraine became the latest to report its first case on Tuesday.

In the US, where there are fewer than 100 virus cases but widespread fears of economic repercussions, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percentage point to 1-1.25 percent.

“The fundamentals of the US economy remain strong. However, the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” the central bank said.


Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes more than 35 tons of food baskets in Yemen’s Marib

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes more than 35 tons of food baskets in Yemen’s Marib
Updated 17 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes more than 35 tons of food baskets in Yemen’s Marib

Saudi Arabia’s KSrelief distributes more than 35 tons of food baskets in Yemen’s Marib
  • Earlier in January, KSrelief also distributed 5,049 cartons of dates in Marib, Hodeidah and Taiz provinces
  • Since it was founded in May 2015, KSrelief has implemented 1,329 projects in 53 countries, worth more than $4.42 billion

DUBAI: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) distributed more than 35 tons of food aid to people in Yemen’s Marib province, state news agency SPA reported.
Earlier in January, KSrelief also distributed 5,049 cartons of dates in Marib, Hodeidah and Taiz provinces, helping thousands of families.
It also continued to ensure basic health services in public schools and fight malnutrition among students and educational staff in Yemen’s Aden governorate.
Since it was founded in May 2015, KSrelief has implemented 1,329 projects in 53 countries, worth more than $4.42 billion. The countries that have benefited most from its work are Yemen ($3 billion), Palestine ($360 million), Syria ($296 million), and Somalia ($192 million).