US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Saudi Arabia decided on Thursday to impose a 24-hour curfew in Mecca and Medina, extending an earlier measure it had taken to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, while other Gulf countries imposed additional restrictions on neighborhoods inhabited by a large number of expats.
The Saudi Ministry of Interior stated in a statement that there are exceptions to the curfew that include workers in “vital sectors of the public and private sectors” as well as allowing residents to obtain their supplies of food and health care. She added that the movement of cars in the two cities will be restricted to one person, in addition to the driver, to limit the spread of the virus.
The Kingdom recorded 1885 cases of HIV and 21 deaths, the highest toll in the six Arab Gulf states that are members of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The kingdom took drastic measures to contain the disease as it halted international flights, closed most public places and canceled the umrah season. On Tuesday, it also asked those wishing to perform the Hajj duty to wait until the situation in the Corona pandemic is clear.
The authorities imposed strict isolation measures and restrictions on the Qatif governorate, in which the first cases appeared in the east of the kingdom among Shiites returning from visits to Iran, nearly four weeks ago.
Saudi Arabia applied restrictions on movement, as it tightened restrictions on entry and exit to the cities of Riyadh, Mecca, Medina and Jeddah. Some neighborhoods in Makkah and Madinah are already subject to comprehensive sanitary isolation, but curfews were imposed in the rest of the two cities between 3 pm and 6 am.
In other Arab Gulf states, public isolation measures targeted neighborhoods inhabited by a large number of expatriate workers with limited income.
The Kuwaiti Minister of Health said that the authorities are considering imposing complete isolation on some areas after Qatar announced on Wednesday evening that it will extend the isolation procedures in an industrial zone and after the Sultanate of Oman imposed isolation measures in the state of Mutrah, which includes one of the oldest markets in the country.
And the authorities in Dubai imposed on Tuesday measures to isolate the general Al Ras area, which is famous for its shops and markets for selling gold jewelry and spices, in which many migrant workers live.
On Thursday, the Bahrain Ministry of Health said that 66 new cases had been registered in the Salmabad industrial area.
“Migrant workers did not leave the precautionary quarantine headquarters when they were in their previous residence, and all of them were from yesterday in the precautionary quarantine center assigned to them,” the ministry said in a statement, assuring everyone that there is no spread of the virus among migrant workers.
The Omani News Agency quoted the Minister of Health as saying, “The state of Muttrah was closed due to the discovery of cases of community transportation of people who are not traveling or in contact with”, stressing that if there is a community outreach in any area, closing it is necessary. He pointed out that such decisions are not taken easily, but they are in the public interest.
On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia said it was working to enable its foreigners to return to their country, although flights were still suspended.
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