Saudi Arabia cordons off virus-hit Qatif region

By: AFP      Published: 06:06 PM, 8 Mar, 2020
Saudi Arabia cordons off virus-hit Qatif region

Saudi authorities have cordoned off eastern Qatif region in a bid to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, the interior ministry said Sunday.

"Given that all 11 recorded positive cases of the new coronavirus are from Qatif... it has been decided... to temporarily suspend entry and exit from Qatif," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Qatif is a stronghold of the kingdom's Shia minority, which has strong ties with Shias in Iraq and Iran - the country with the highest coronavirus deaths after the virus epicentre China.

As many as 49 more deaths were reported by Tehran on Sunday, taking the total number of deceased to 194.