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Saudi Arabia to punish residents who flout China travel ban

There were no reported cases of the coronavirus in Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 February, 2020

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Saudi Arabia has banned all its citizens and resident foreigners from travelling to China, where the coronavirus has killed over 722 and infected more than 28,000 people.
Saudi Arabia has banned all travel by its citizens or resident foreigners to virus-hit China and introduced penalities for any breach, state media announced on Thursday.

"Trips to China by citizens or (foreign) residents are suspended in accordance with the preventive health measures the kingdom has adopted against the virus," the official SPA news agency said.

Expatriates who flout the ban face being barred from returning to the kingdom. 

China's coronavirus crisis has deepened with the death toll soaring to 722 on Saturday, as thousands of people trapped on quarantined cruise ships add to the global panic about the epidemic.

More than 28,000 people have now been infected across China as authorities struggle to contain the outbreak despite compelling millions to stay indoors in a growing number of cities.

Two dozen countries have confirmed cases of the respiratory disease which emerged from a market selling exotic animals in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Read also: 'No reason to panic!': Meet the Lebanese student video blogging from Wuhan, coronavirus' ground zero


Saudi Arabia is not among them, although the neighbouring United Arab Emirates has reported seven confirmed cases, all among Chinese arrivals from Wuhan. 

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman have advised their citizens against all travel to China but without any compulsion.

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