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Saudi Arabia stops flight, ship services with 9 nations

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has suspended aircraft and ship services Monday with nine countries amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to the Interior Ministry.

The government has temporarily banned citizens and foreigners living in Saudi Arabia from travelling to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy and Iraq, the official SPA news agency reported.

Arrivals from these countries and those who have been there in the last 14 days have been temporarily barred from entering the country, while Saudi Arabia has also stopped flights and ships from these countries.

In the statement, it was pointed out that the restriction imposed on arrivals from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain is valid only via airlines and entry by highway is not prohibited.

The global death toll from the virus is around 3,500 with more than 100,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, governments have closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the worst-hit countries including China, Iran and Italy.

After declaring the outbreak an international health emergency in January, the WHO last month updated the global risk level to “very high.”

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