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29 Mar 2020 | 09:48 AM UTC

Saudi Arabia: Authorities impose lockdown on Jeddah March 29 /update 20

Authorities lock down Jeddah over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak concerns March 29; follow government directives

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SAU

Event

On Sunday, March 29, Saudi authorities ordered a temporary lockdown of the port city of Jeddah, effective immediately, to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Per the directive, all entry and exit into the city will be halted. Additionally, the start time of a nationwide curfew that has been in place since March 23 has been brought forward in Jeddah from 19:00 to 15:00 (local time). The curfew is effective until Monday, April 13. Exemptions will be made for those employed in vital sectors, such as security, the military, and health services.

Officials on Sunday also extended indefinitely its suspension of international passenger flights and a ban on workplace attendance in both public and private sectors. Domestic flights, trains, buses, and taxis will remain halted as well.

To date, there are more than 1295 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with eight associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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.