RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is temporarily stopping entry into the Kingdom by land from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain, as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19) coronavirus, the Saudi Press Agency reported early Saturday.
Only commercial trucks coming from the three Gulf neighbors would be allowed, but they have to undergo health inspection, the report said, quoting an official source from the Ministry of Interior.
Arrivals from the three countries would be limited to three airports starting 11:55 p.m. Saturday, March 7, 2020, SPA said.
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These airports are King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, the report added.
Precautionary measures are also to be undertaken by Ministry of Health workers at the three airports.
The report also said anyone who wishes to enter Saudi Arabia from any country where the risk of the spread of COVID-19 is high "must submit a laboratory test certificate proving that he or she is free of infection with the new coronavirus".
"This applies to those who resided in those countries during the (14) days prior to entering the Kingdom," the report said.
"The air carrier must ensure that the laboratory certificate is safe, and that it is recent and issued within the twenty-four hours prior to the passenger boarding," the report said.
Saudi Arabia's health ministy also announced on Saturday that people returning back into the Kingdom having visited Egypt, Lebanon, Italy and South Korea had to self-isolate for two weeks from the date of their return.
The ministry had earlier said five cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom have been confirmed. One of the patients was a man who traveled from Iran via Kuwait, who passed the illness to his wife.
Another citizen who came from Iran via Bahrain has also been infected. He traveled in the same vehicle as the first and second cases of coronavirus that were announced in the Kingdom on Monday and Wednesday respectively.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday chided Iran for helping spread the outbreak around the world by allowing Saudi citizens into the country without stamping their passports during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
As a precautionary measure, the Kingdom has suspended the annual Umrah pilgrimage and efforts are being undertaken to disinfect the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah, as well as all mosques in the Kingdom.