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Saudi Arabia Imposes 24-Hour Curfew In Mecca, Medina

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Saudi Arabia imposed a 24-hour curfew in Muslim holy cities – and .

The number of cases in the kingdom jumped to 1,700 with 16 persons confirmed to have died from the pandemic.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement there were some exceptions, including for essential workers and in order for residents to buy food and access medical care.

Cars in those cities’ residential districts may only carry one passenger to limit the virus’ transmission, it said.

The country of 30 million has taken drastic steps to contain the disease, halting international flights, closing most public places and suspending the year-round Umrah Pilgrimage.

On Tuesday, it asked Muslims to put plans for the annual hajj pilgrimage on hold pending more clarity about the pandemic.

Restrictions on movement have tightened, with entry and exit to Riyadh, Mecca, Medina and Jeddah heavily restricted.

Some neighbourhoods in Mecca and Medina were already under full lockdown, but in the rest of those cities, the curfew was previously from 3.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.

The eastern oil-producing province of Qatif, where the kingdom’s first coronavirus cases were reported last month among Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims returning from Iran, has been on lockdown for nearly four weeks.

Saudi Arabia has the most infections and deaths among the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council.

But public health officials say past experience combating the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) helped prepare the kingdom for the new coronavirus outbreak

Adelowo Adegboyega
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