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03 Apr 2020 | 02:23 AM UTC

Saudi Arabia: Curfew hours revised in Dammam, Taif, and Qatif April 3 /update 22

Saudi government brings curfew start time forward to 15:00 (local time) in Damman, Taif, and Qatif on April 3; follow all government directives

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Event

Saudi authorities have revised the start time for the nationwide curfew for the regions of Damman, Taif, and Qatif as of Friday, April 3, to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Overnight curfews in the three regions will start at 15:00 and end at 06:00 (local time). The same curfew hours are in effect for Riyadh and Jeddah. On Thursday, April 2, a 24-hour curfew was imposed in Mecca and Medina. Exemptions will be made for those employed in vital sectors, such as security, the military, and health services. Additionally, all commercial activities within the residential neighborhoods of Mecca and Medina will be shut down; pharmacies, foodstuff stores, gas stations, and banking services will remain open. The nationwide curfew is scheduled to end on Monday, April 13.

Other COVID-19 containment measures remain in effect as of Friday. The ban on movement into and out of Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, and Medina continues and travel between provinces is still prohibited. An indefinite suspension of international passenger flights is in place, as well as a temporary suspension of domestic flights, public buses, and some taxi and train service. Only businesses providing vital food, health, or utility services will remain operational. Malls, restaurants, coffee shops, and public parks are also closed.

As of April 3, 1885 cases of COVID-19 and 21 associated fatalities have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term. 

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.