Saudi Arabia suspends travel to EU, dozen other countries over coronavirus fears

Saudi Arabia suspends travel to EU, dozen other countries over coronavirus fears

Moscow: Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned travel to and from all European Union nations and others amid a spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country, state media reported on Thursday.

Citing an official Interior Ministry source, state news agency SPA said that the kingdom will be halting flights to all EU nations, Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia.

Saudi citizens in those countries will have 72 hours to return to the kingdom before the suspension, SPA went on to report.

The ban excludes shipping and trade trips from Saudi — the world’s largest oil exporter — as well as health workers currently outside the kingdom, although all precautionary measures will be taken.

The Saudi Health Ministry late on Wednesday reported a two-fold jump in detected cases, from 21 to 45, likely prompting the authorities to consider more drastic measures.

Saudi Arabia has become part of a growing list of nations banning travel and closing borders as the coronavirus has gone global.

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the spread of the virus a pandemic, with it having infected more than 126,000 people in around 114 countries and killing over 4,600. (Sputnik)