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Saudi Arabia to Fine People Who Do not Declare Correct Health Details on Entry

Saudi Arabia to Fine People Who Do not Declare Correct Health Details on Entry

Monday, 9 March, 2020 - 11:15
A worker pulls a cart of coronavirus aid items being prepared for shipment at a World Health Organization facility in Dubai. (AP)

Saudi Arabia announced on Monday it will impose a fine of up to 500,000 riyals ($133,000) on people who do not accurately declare their health details at entry points into the Kingdom, reported state television.

The Kingdom has confirmed 15 cases of the new coronavirus, the majority of which are linked to travelers who had been to Iran and had not declared their destination to authorities.

“All the travelers coming to the Kingdom by international flights, managers and workers of other transportation means have to respect local and international health directives,” the Kingdom’s public prosecutor said in a statement.

Saudi Arabia had already banned travel to Iran. The majority of cases in the Middle East can be traced back to Iran.

Saudi Arabia also temporarily suspended travel with the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy, Iraq, France, Germany, Turkey and Spain and said legal action would be taken against any citizen going to Iran, which reported 237 deaths from the virus on Monday.

Four new cases were registered in the Kingdom on Monday, including in an American arrival who visited Italy and the Philippines.

The American visitor has been transferred to a hospital in Riyadh, the capital. The rest involve a Saudi national who had contact with an infected person in al-Qatif, and two Bahraini women who came from Iraq.

The interior ministry announced on Sunday a lockdown in al-Qatif.

On Monday, authorities asked imams to deliver Friday prayer sermons in less than 15 minutes. The Islamic Affairs Ministry banned food and beverages at mosques in addition to spiritual retreats.

All public and private schools and universities would also be suspended from Monday until further notice, state media said, adding that distance learning measures would be adopted.

The entertainment authority announced on Monday the closure of leisure attractions Riyadh Boulevard and Winter Wonderland, over virus concerns.

Precautions on Sunday included suspending all educational and Quranic activities in mosques in Saudi Arabia.

On Saturday, the government restricted land crossings with Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE to commercial trucks with passenger arrivals limited to three airports.

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