Saudi Arabia halts all travel, grounds flights to EU

Europe and Asia

Saudi Arabia has suspended all travel for residents and grounded flights to a number of coronavirus hotspots across Europe and Asia, Saudi state media reported on Thursday.

One the kingdom’s most significant steps yet to stem the lethal outbreak, the move will cut off travel to the whole of the European Union, Switzerland, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Sudan and South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and the Philippines, according to an Interior Ministry source cited by the Saudi Press Agency.

All passenger traffic through border crossings with Jordan was also halted, with the exception of commercial goods and other cargo, as well as certain humanitarian cases. Health workers on Saudi soil hailing from India and the Philippines will also be exempted from the new measure.

Saudi Arabia has confirmed 45 cases of the coronavirus, with zero fatalities.

Hours after the decision in Riyadh, US President Donald Trump moved ahead on similar restrictions, banning all travel from Europe to the United States for a period of 30 days in new sweeping measures to halt the spread of the virus.

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