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Tue 10 Mar 2020 09:18 AM

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Saudi Arabia clamps down on unreported coronavirus, as 5 more cases announced

Anyone who fails to disclose health information or travel details at entry points to the kingdom will be fined up to $133,000

Saudi Arabia clamps down on unreported coronavirus, as 5 more cases announced

Fines of up to 500,000 riyals ($133,000) will be imposed on anyone who fails to disclose health information or travel details at entry points to the kingdom. Image: AFP

Five new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Saudi Arabia, taking the total number in the kingdom up to 20.

According to the Ministry of Health, three of the five cases were a male and two females who were isolated after returning from Iran and Iraq and have subsequently been quarantined in a hospital in the Eastern Region after testing positive for Covid-19.

The fourth case involved a man suffering from mild respiratory symptoms, also in the Eastern Region, who has been placed in quarantine.

While the fifth case was an Egyptian man who had travelled from Egypt and also showed mild respiratory symptoms. He has been quarantined in a hospital in Makkah Region.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that fines of up to 500,000 riyals ($133,000) will be imposed on anyone who fails to disclose health information or travel details at entry points to the kingdom.

“All the travellers coming to the kingdom by international flights, managers and workers of other transportation means have to respect local and international health directives,” the kingdom’s public prosecutor said in a statement carried by news agency Reuters.

Saudi has suspended travel to and from 14 countries including the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Korea, Egypt and Italy. It was previously announced that legal action will be taken against any citizen travelling to Iran, which reported 237 deaths from coronavirus on Monday.

On Sunday, the kingdom imposed a temporary lockdown on its eastern province of Qatif, where a large amount of the cases have been confirmed.

Saudi has also closed the causeway linking the country with Bahrain.

While Sheikh Dr. Abdullatif bin Abdulaziz Al Al-Sheikh, Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, has issued a number of measures for mosques in the kingdom to curb the spread of coronavirus.

This includes lessening the gap between Azan (calling for prayer) and Iqama (start of prayer) to ten minutes for the five prayers a day; keeping Friday speech and prayer in the range of 15 minutes; suspending the tradition of feeding fasting worshippers; preventing long-stay inside mosques by worshippers following regular prayers; removing food and dates from inside mosques; and removing used drinking cups, usually found by the side of water refrigerators.

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