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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia quarantines Ryad, Medina and Mecca

Saudi Arabia announced on Wednesday the quarantine of Ryad as well as the country’s two holy cities, Medina and Mecca, and extended the curfew already in force to fight the new coronavirus.

These new measures come as Saudi Arabia announced a second death related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Saudi Ministry of Health said it had registered a total of 900 people infected with the disease. The country has the most cases among its neighbors in the Gulf.

The kingdom banned from Thursday any entry and exit from the cities of Ryad, Medina and Mecca, as well as any movement between the provinces of the country, according to the official press agency SPA, citing measures decreed by King Salman.

While a curfew has been in place since Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. local (4:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. GMT), it now starts at 3:00 p.m. in Ryad, Medina and Mecca.

The two holy cities were already forbidden to foreigners to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.

The country, the richest economy of the Arab world, also closed cinemas, shopping centers and restaurants, and suspended all flights as well as the small pilgrimage of Umrah, which every year has millions of Muslims from around the world.

Ryad has announced economic measures worth 120 billion riyals (29.6 billion euros) to support businesses, and says it plans to borrow up to 50% of its GDP.

As the world’s leading exporter of crude oil, the country has suffered greatly from the plunge in black gold prices, linked in particular to the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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