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Thu 6 Feb 2020 02:10 PM

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Saudi Arabia to block return of expats who travel to China

The Gulf kingdom says it has banned citizens and expatriates from traveling to China amid coronavirus outbreak

Saudi Arabia to block return of expats who travel to China

The kingdom banned citizens and expatriates from traveling to China.

Saudi Arabia will stop expatriates from returning to the kingdom if they travel to China in an effort to contain the outbreak of coronavirus.

The kingdom banned citizens and expatriates from traveling to China, state-run Saudi Press Agency reported. Saudi citizens violating the restrictions would be penalized, while expatriates wouldn’t be allowed back into the country.

Saudi Arabia is home to more than 13 million expatriates. The kingdom hasn’t reported any cases of coronavirus so far.

China's coronavirus crisis has deepened with the death toll soaring to 563 on Thursday, as thousands of people trapped on quarantined cruise ships add to the global panic about the epidemic.

More than 28,000 people have now been infected across China as authorities struggle to contain the outbreak despite compelling millions to stay indoors in a growing number of cities.

Two dozen countries have confirmed cases of the respiratory disease which emerged from a market selling exotic animals in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Saudi Arabia is not among them, although the neighbouring United Arab Emirates has reported five confirmed cases, all among Chinese arrivals from Wuhan.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman have advised their citizens against all travel to China but without any compulsion.

Tighter travel restrictions including quarantines are spreading as worldwide efforts to contain the coronavirus accelerate.

Here are places with known major constraints on travelers or China travel:


Foreign nationals in mainland China will not be allowed to enter Australia until 14 days after they have left or transited through China, the government said. Australian citizens, permanent residents and their families are still able to enter but must isolate themselves for 14 days if they’ve recently been to mainland China. The government has advised against any travel to mainland China.

Hong Kong

The city will quarantine anyone arriving from mainland China, including Hong Kong residents and visitors entering through the international airport, from February 8 at midnight. The large Kai Tak cruise terminal in Victoria Harbor will close as crew and passengers on a cruise ship remain under quarantine. Most border crossings with mainland China are already closed.


Existing visas are no longer valid for any foreign national traveling from China, according to India’s health ministry. Anyone traveling to China will be quarantined on their return.


Direct flights to and from mainland China have been banned, and Indonesia has also suspended visas on arrival for Chinese citizens.


Foreigners who have visited China’s Hubei province within the past 14 days have been denied entry into Japan since February 1. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he’s considering an expansion of immigration curbs.

New Zealand

A ban on anyone traveling from China came into effect February 3 and lasts as long as 14 days. The government has also raised its travel advice about all of mainland China to “do not travel,” the highest level.


The Philippines has widened a travel ban previously imposed on visitors from Hubei province to all of China, including Hong Kong and Macau. President Rodrigo Duterte has imposed a 14-day quarantine for Filipinos coming from China, while also temporarily barring travel to China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Saudi Arabia

Citizens of Saudia Arabia and foreigners living in the country are banned from traveling to China. Expats who have been to China won’t be allowed to return, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.


Singapore has blocked the entry and transit of people who had traveled to mainland China in the previous 14 days, starting from February 1. Visas of China citizens to visit Singapore have been suspended, including those already issued.

South Korea

From February 4, South Korea barred the entry of foreigners who have visited or stayed in Hubei in the previous 14 days. Seoul also suspended its no-visa favor for Chinese tourists to Jeju Island.


All Chinese residents, excluding those from Hong Kong and Macau, will be banned from entering Taiwan from February 6. Travelers who have visited Hong Kong and Macau will be quarantined at home and must monitor their health for 14 days, the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control said.


The government has recommended British nationals leave China and advised against all but essential travel to mainland China.


The US has temporarily barred entry to foreign nationals who have visited China and pose a risk of spreading the illness, unless they are immediate relatives of US citizens or permanent residents. The State Department issued its highest level do-not-travel advisory for China.


The government has banned all foreigners who have spent time in China in the previous two weeks from entering Vietnam. The country has already quarantined about 900 people, most of them Vietnamese, who arrived from China.

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