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Covid-19: Saudi to suspend all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains

Covid-19: Saudi to suspend all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains

The suspension begins on Saturday, March 21 and will last for 14 days

Saudi Arabia has announced that it will suspending all forms of domestic transport in the country for 14 days to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The kingdom has so far reported 274 cases of infection.

The suspension, which covers flights, buses, trains and taxis will begin at 6am on Saturday, March 21, and last for 14 days, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an official source in the interior ministry.

However, the suspension will not include transportation related to sectors such as health, services and basic commodities such as food, energy, water and communications, air freight and necessary security transfers.

The kingdom, which has already banned all international flights, will stop domestic flights except those related to humanitarian and necessary cases, medical evacuation aircraft and private aviation. The Civil Aviation Authority will issue the necessary permits for such trips in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and Health, the SPA report said.

With regards to buses, only those belonging to government agencies or public or private health facilities, and commercial establishments transporting their employees, or those used for the purposes of health, humanitarian work or security, will be allowed to operate, and will require letters issued by the Ministry of Interior or the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile only taxis providing services in airports, as required by the General Authority of Civil Aviation, will be permitted to operate as well as those carrying special work permits.

Security authorities in the kingdom will monitor buses and taxis until the suspension period ends and any violators will be penalised, the report said.

The kingdom also announced that train services will be suspended for all operators including the Riyadh-Dammam line through Abqaiq and Hofuf, the Riyadh-Jawf line through the Majmaa, Al-Qassim and Hail, and the Haramain Express.

Only commercial transport trains, including the freight train between King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam and the Dry Port in Riyadh, and the mining train of the Saudi Railways Company will be exempt.

Ferries will also be permitted to continue operating between Jizan and Farasan Island, although the number of passengers will be limited to a maximum of 100 people per trip. However only those working and living in Farasan Island will be allowed to coummute and tourists will not be permitted, the report stated.

Cargo ships will also continue as usual, the report added.

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