Saudi Arabia early on Monday suspended all travel to and from nine countries including the UAE, reported official news channel Saudi Press Agency.
The countries that are on the list include UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Italy, South Korea and Syria.
The kingdom will suspend all air travel between itself and the nine countries.
A statement on Saudi Press Agency noted: “The Kingdom’s government decided to temporarily suspend the travel of citizens and residents to (the United Arab Emirates, the State of Kuwait, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Republic of Lebanon, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Republic of South Korea, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Italy, and the Republic of Iraq), as well as suspending the entry of those coming from those countries, and those who were there during the 14 days prior to their arrival.”
The decision reportedly excludes evacuation, shipping and trade trips.
The kingdom’s ministries of interior and health would coordinate to deal with humanitarian and exceptional cases.
On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced that four additional cases of the virus had been detected in the country.
The first case was that of a citizen who was in contact with a previously announced case in Al-Qatif Governorate; the second and third cases were of Bahraini women coming from Iraq on their way to Bahrain while the fourth case was of a US resident returning from travel, having passed through the Philippines and Italy before arriving into the kingdom.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Saudi now stands at 15.
As a precautionary measure, Saudi has decided to close all Schools and universities – applicable to both private and public institutions – across the kingdom indefinitely from Monday, March 9, until further notice.
Saudi Arabia had already banned the use of national identity cards for its citizens and residents of other GCC countries to enter and exit the kingdom, requiring them instead to use their passports for entry/exit from the country.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia also began to restrict entry points for arrivals from UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain.
The new directive stipulated that travellers from the three GCC states can only be granted entry through the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam.
However, this latest announcement means that all flights between UAE and the other countries on the list will remain suspended with immediate effect.