Saudi Arabia to suspend international flights over coronavirus

Passengers being screened upon their arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Jan 29, 2020.
Passengers being screened upon their arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Jan 29, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi Arabia said on Saturday (March 14) it would suspend international flights for two weeks in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"The kingdom's government decided to suspend international flights for two weeks (Starting from Sunday March 15th) as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of #CoronaVirus," the foreign ministry tweeted.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 86 cases of the virus so far, but no deaths, according to the health ministry.

The kingdom had already halted flights to some countries and closed schools and universities as part of measures to contain the disease.

The authorities have also suspended the umrah year-round pilgrimage to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina for fear of the virus spreading.