Guide: Saudi Arabia health measures for arrivals from coronavirus-hit countries

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Saudi Arabia has imposed several travel restrictions as part of its efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus in the Kingdom.

The Ministry of Health issued a set of guidelines which categorize the countries where the coronavirus has spread into two categories and listed the health procedures put in place for those showing symptoms of acute respiratory infection arriving in Saudi Arabia.

Those subject to new surveillance include patients with acute respiratory infection, including a fever or recent history of fever, cough, or sore throat, and within the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms have a history of travel to areas with presumed ongoing community transmission (China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong), have come in close physical contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, or work in or attended a healthcare facility where coronavirus patients were admited.

Others arriving to the Kingdom who will be subject to new guidelines include adults with severe acute respiratory illness who have tested negative for MERS, influenza, and coronavirus and after clinical assessment show no evidence of epidemiological link to COVID-19 cases and also have no known cause for their illness after assessment.

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Category A includes nine countries: China, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Spain.

Arrivals from those countries will be admitted to a hospital under contact and droplet precautions regardless of the case’s clinical severity until the COVID-19 test result is reported negative and the person is clinically cleared.

Category B includes 32 countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Congo, Greece, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Senegal, Singapore, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, UK, US, and Yemen.

If arrivals from those countries are clinically stable, home isolation may be considered only if the standards are acceptable to the authorities.

The Kingdom's ministry of health confirmed 45 coronavirus cases as of early Thursday.

The guidelines were issued March 11 as an additional supplement to the country's COVID-19 guidelines initially published in February.

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