Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia shuts land borders except for commercial trucks

Passengers coming from China wearing masks to prevent coronavirus infection are checked by Saudi Health Ministry employees upon their arrival at King Khalid International Airport, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 29, 2020. (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that land crossing with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Bahrain will be limited to commercial trucks only and arrivals from the three countries are temporarily restricted to entry through airports, as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus, state news agency SPA reported.

An official source at the Ministry of Interior stated that as per the recommendations of the health authorities in Saudi Arabia, the government decided to temporarily restrict entry to the Kingdom for travelers from the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain to the following airports only: King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam.

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Only commercial trucks will be allowed entry to the country through land border crossings.

The ministry of health will take all the necessary precautions at the aforementioned airports and the procedures will also apply to the truck drivers and their companions.

“All those who wish to come to the Kingdom using a new visa or a pre-existing valid visa from any country where there is risk of the spread of the coronavirus as determined by the Saudi health authorities is required to present a PCR lab test certificate proving that the individual is coronavirus-free. This applies to anyone who resided in those countries within a time frame of 14 days prior to entering the Kingdom,” SPA cited the official as saying.

“All airlines must ensure that the authenticity of the lab test and ensure that they were issued within 24 hours prior to the passenger boarding the plane.”

Measures taken to combat coronavirus

The Kingdom put in place mechanisms in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus:

It urged its citizens who had traveled to Iran recently to declare that to the authorities by end of day March 7, or else face legal action against them according to the Travel Documents Law and its related regulations. It also reiterated that Saudi citizens should not travel to Iran for any reason, stressing that serious legal actions will be taken against those who commit this act going forward.

Saudi Arabia announced on March 4 temporarily banning entry of its nationals and residents to Mecca to perform Umrah pilgrimage or to visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

The Kingdom halted on March 2 all exports of medical and laboratory products and equipment used to detect or prevent coronavirus infection via its land, sea and air ports.

The health ministry said on March 1 it had prepared 25 hospitals and 8,000 beds to handle any coronavirus cases.

The foreign ministry announced on February 27 the temporary suspension of entry for individuals seeking to perform Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca or visiting the Prophet's Mosque in Madina, as well as tourists traveling from countries where the coronavirus poses a risk as determined by the Kingdom’s health authorities.

Read more:

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Coronavirus hits all GCC countries: Iran travel link, figures and measures taken

Saudi Arabia reopens the two holy mosques after sterilization amid coronavirus

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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