On Thursday, Saudi authorities took an unprecedented action according to which the kingdom would go on lockdown. As the coronavirus fears rise and the World Health Organization has also declared it a global pandemic, the Saudi officials have asked the pilgrims and tourists to leave the kingdom in the next 72 hours, i.e. till 14th March.
In this regard, foreigners who hold Saudi Arabia’s residency or Iqama have the choice to stay in the kingdom, return in the kingdom from other countries, or leave it within the 72 hours timeframe. After 72 hours, no flights would operate to and from Saudi Arabia as the country would go on a temporary lockdown. PIA, the national flag carrier of Pakistan, has announced that the schedule of additional flights that will pick the Pakistanis from the kingdom would be announced soon.
The Travel Ban Has Been Extended For 45 Days:
Earlier, the Saudi government not only halted the flights but also suspended travel of residents and citizens of various states. The countries included in this decision were Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Philippines, Switzerland, and the countries of the European Union. Now, this suspension has been extended for another 45 days, and as per the official sources, further decisions would be taken after ascertaining the situation on the ground.
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Cases Of Coronavirus In The Kingdom:
Currently, there are a total of 45 cases of coronavirus in the kingdom. The officials are saying that the virus would spread rapidly if the stringent measures are not taken to counter it. Therefore, they have pulled out all the stops to ensure that the infected people are quarantined, and other people do not contract the deadly virus.
Though the passenger flights have been banned, the operations of commercial and cargo flights are still going on. Similarly, the passage of exceptional humanitarian cases would also not be restricted. In addition, the health workers belonging to India and the Philippines are also excluded from the decision.