Saudi Arabia imposes 24-hour curfew in Makkah, Madinah in coronavirus clampdown

Saudi Arabia imposes 24-hour curfew in Makkah, Madinah in coronavirus clampdown
In this file photo, an aerial view shows an empty white-tiled area surrounding the Kaaba in Makkah's Grand Mosque on March 6, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 03 April 2020

Saudi Arabia imposes 24-hour curfew in Makkah, Madinah in coronavirus clampdown

Saudi Arabia imposes 24-hour curfew in Makkah, Madinah in coronavirus clampdown
  • Residents will be allowed to leave their houses for medical care and to obtain food supplies in their respective neighborhoods from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s two holy cities, Makkah and Madinah, have been put under a 24-hour curfew as of Thursday April 2, until further notice.

Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, the Ministry of Interior spokesman, said that the decision to raise the preventive measures taken against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is to protect the health of residents in the two cities.

The curfew is applicable to all parts of Makkah and Madinah. The curfew does not apply to those working in key occupations in the private or governmental sector who were previously exempted.

Adult residents of Makkah and Madinah are only allowed to leave their houses in dire emergencies, such as health care and food supplies and only around their districts from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. In case of going out in a four-wheeler, only the driver and another person are allowed out to limit human contact as much as possible. 

“A mechanism will be deployed soon on how to use banking services and ATM machines in accordance with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Health,” said the spokesman.

All commercial activity is to be put on hold in these two cities, except for pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations and banking services.

Al-Shalhoub encouraged people to use phone applications to order food and grocery supplies. He also spoke about the few cases of curfew breaking, saying that the numbers are small in comparison to those who are keeping themselves and their loved ones safe by staying indoors.

“The Ministry of Interior will not tolerate those who do not abide by curfew regulations and show off their insubordination openly on social media outlets, whoever they may be,” said Al-Shalhoub.

The move comes at a time when the number of new COVID-19 cases in two cities — 48 cases in Makkah and 46 in Madinah — are the highest in the Kingdom.

The Health Ministry’s spokesperson, Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, announced 165 new cases — two of which are related to traveling and have been quarantined.

The overall number confirmed cases is 1,885 — 1,536 of which are active.

Al-Aly announced five further deaths, bringing the total number to 21. The 64 recoveries makes the total number 328.

“The preventive measures taken by the Kingdom must be maintained, as they’ve helped us all keep our numbers low — we don’t want our elderly or young to suffer,” said Al-Abd Al-Aly.

He addressed the cities that have not recorded any coronavirus cases yet and encouraged them to practice self-isolation.

“No community is immune; they could be in an incubation stage right now, and symptoms can start showing later on,” he added.


Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh
Updated 23 January 2021

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh

Saudi TV says missile or drone intercepted over Riyadh
  • Social media users posted video of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over Riyadh
  • The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge launching a missile or a drone toward Riyadh

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia said Saturday it intercepted an apparent missile or drone attack over its capital, Riyadh, amid the kingdom’s yearslong war against neighboring Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Social media users posted video of what appeared to be an explosion in the air over Riyadh. Saudi state TV quoted authorities in the kingdom acknowledging the interception.
The Houthis did not immediately acknowledge launching a missile or a drone toward Riyadh.
The Houthis have held Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since September 2014. Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a war against them in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
The war has been mired in a stalemate for years. Riyadh has been targeted in sporadic missile attacks in that time, while the Houthis also have launched missile and drone strikes.
Western experts, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. say Iran has supplied arms, including ballistic missiles to the Houthis. Iran denies that, though devices in the weapons link back to Tehran.