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Mecca, Medina, Riyadh in lockdown as Saudi coronavirus cases spike

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Date of publication: 25 March, 2020

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Mecca, Medina and Riyadh are in full lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic spreads in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has enforced a full lockdown on Riyadh, Mecca and Medina as of Thursday in new measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

Residents from the three cities will be unable to enter or exit the three cities, with increased measures to halt movement.

According to Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry, the curfew enforced earlier this week will, as of Thursday, begin at 3pm instead of the original dusk-to-dawn decree imposition.

Read more: A tale of two outbreaks: How Gulf countries succeeded where Iran failed on containing coronavirus

The ministry added that the curfew exemptions still apply to those in essential public and private sectors such as police, health workers, military and media.

The measures come as cases in coronavirus spiked to 767 in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday that its number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, jumped from 562 to 767, with one fatality.

The first fatality in the country is a 51-year-old resident from Afghanistan.

Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, the spokesman for the Saudi Health Ministry, said the patient was already in an advanced stage of the disease when he arrived at the emergency unit.

He also said that half of those infected were from people who came to the kingdom from abroad.

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