After the coronavirus was declared a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization, Saudi Arabia temporarily stopped the journey of citizens and residents and stopped flights to several countries, including Pakistan, the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Thursday, citing an official source at Interior Ministry. The decision includes the European Union, Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia.

The Kingdom added that the Kingdom had also suspended entry from these countries. Saudi Arabia has also suspended passenger traffic across all land crossings with Jordan, while commercial and freight traffic continues to be permitted and exceptional humanitarian cases are occurring. The decision excludes health workers in the Kingdom of the Philippines and India, as well as evacuation, shipping, and commercial trips who take the necessary precautions. So far, Saudi Arabia has confirmed 45 cases of coronavirus, according to Reuters.

“Following the decision by the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to temporarily suspend the travel of citizens and expatriates to a number of countries where there is a risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID19), the SPA said. The decision provides for 72 hours for citizens and residents of these countries who are legally resident to return to the Kingdom before the decision to suspend travel takes effect.

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