Saudi Arabia suspends international flights for two weeks

By: News Desk      Published: 11:02 AM, 14 Mar, 2020
Saudi Arabia suspends international flights for two weeks

Amid the rapid rise in the coronavirus cases in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has decided to suspend international flights for two weeks from Sunday to slow down the spread.

According to Saudi media outlets and the state news agency SPA which quoted the interior ministry officials, this period will be considered as an exceptional official holiday for citizens and residents who are unable to return due to the suspension of flights or if they face quarantine after their return to the Kingdom.

The decision taken on Saturday followed the reports of 24 new cases of COVID-19, raising the total to 86 in the Kingdom.

Similarly, Kuwait had halted flights with the outside world on Friday.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the Middle East have crossed 11,000. Iran tops the list with most infections and deaths.

As part of preventive measures, the Dubai government had earlier allowed the public sector employees to work from home.

Just like Iran, Kuwait had also cancelled the Friday prayer gatherings to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, asking the Muslims to pray at home.

In Jerusalem, Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders said services would continue to be held in the Holy Land but moved to limit indoor gatherings after the Israeli Health Ministry said they should not exceed 100 people.

On the other hand, Egypt ordered all mosques to limit Friday prayers, including the weekly sermon, to no more than 15 minutes.

In Lebanon, Friday prayers have been temporarily suspended in all Shia mosques. But the Sunny religious leaders said it was forbidden for anyone with a contagious disease to attend prayers, urging elderly people and those with weakened immune systems to pray at home.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia banned Umrah" for residents and citizens. It is also preventing foreigners from reaching the holy city of Makkah.