Saudi Arabia suspends international flights starting Sunday to prevent spread of coronavirus

International flights from Saudi airports will be halted for two weeks. (SPA)
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Updated 14 March 2020

Saudi Arabia suspends international flights starting Sunday to prevent spread of coronavirus

  • Saudi Arabia's total COVID-19 infections rose to 103 on Saturday
  • Some flights to be allowed in "exceptional cases" during the two-week period

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will suspend international flights for two weeks from Sunday to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Interior announced on Saturday.

On Saturday, 17 new cases of COVID-19 infections were reported in the Kingdom, raising the total to 103 from the 86 on Friday.

The suspension will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, the ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency. 

Some flights would only be allowed in "exceptional cases" during the two-week period, the ministry said.

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For residents who cannot come back during this period, it will be considered as an official holiday.

Necessary arrangements will be made regarding health procedures such as examination and isolation according to the preventive measures approved for all arrivals.

The Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, the Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant parties, will arrange for the arrival of citizens who wish to return, and the relevant procedures will be soon announced, the statement added.

Earlier this week, the entire European Union and 12 other countries in Asia and Africa were added to a list of countries in which travel to and from the Kingdom is suspended.  

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sports announced the suspension of all sporting activities and competitions in the Kingdom on Saturday.

A statement issued by the ministry said that private sport centres and gyms would also close as of Sunday.


Fahad Al-Azzam, assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Saudi Ministry of Health

Updated 14 August 2020

Fahad Al-Azzam, assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Saudi Ministry of Health

Fahad Al-Azzam has been the assistant deputy minister for empowerment at the Ministry of Health since September 2019.
He has also been the general manager for enterprise at the ministry’s project management office since July 2016, where he developed and implemented a standard set of project management processes and models, and built the framework and updated it to account for developments and best practices.
It was announced on Monday that Al-Azzam’s role as assistant deputy minister for empowerment has been extended for another year.
Al-Azzam obtained a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, in 2007. He studied abroad in the US, obtaining a master’s degree in engineering and technology management from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 2014.
Prior to his current position, Al-Azzam worked as a cooperative trainee at the Saudi Electricity Co. between May and October 2006.
At the Advanced Electronics Co., he worked as an assistant field service engineer between July 2007 and May 2009, and technical support and field service engineer between May 2009 and December 2010.
At the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, he worked as senior electrical engineer at their radiation safety department between January 2011 and February 2015.
He developed a safety program for exporting and importing electronics devices to and from Saudi Arabia and worked at controlling the risk resulting from the use of radiation-emitting devices. He also worked there as a project manager at their project management office between February 2015 and July 2016.