Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Saudi authorities impose a lockdown in parts of Jeddah Governorate from April 4 until further notice to combat COVID-19.

This alert affects Saudi Arabia

This alert began 04 Apr 2020 13:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
On April 4, Saudi authorities locked down several areas of Jeddah Governorate, Mecca Province, as part of the country's efforts to combat coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The affected areas include Kilo 14 North, Kilo 14 South, al-Mahjar, Ghulail, al-Qurayat, Kilo 13, and Petromin. Entry to and exit from these areas will be severely restricted and residents are only permitted to leave their homes for groceries, medical needs, and other essentials 0600-1500. Members of the country's security establishment, health care workers, and other essential individuals are exempt from the curfew. A 1500-0700 curfew remains in effect in other areas of the governorate.

Previously enacted restrictions in Saudi Arabia include:

  • Unless otherwise stated, a 1900-0600 curfew is in effect nationwide until at least April 13. Authorities brought forward the start time of the curfew to 1500 for Dammam city, and Taif and Qatif governorates from April 3 until further notice. Residents will be permitted to leave their residences for essential services only.

 

  • Authorities imposed a 24-hour citywide curfew for Mecca and Medina cities effective April 2 until further notice. Residents will only be permitted to leave their residences for groceries, medical needs, and other essentials 0600-1500;

 

  • Authorities announced March 29 that they indefinitely extended the suspension of international and domestic passenger flights, public transportation, including buses, taxis, and trains, and workplace attendance in nonessential public and private sectors. The measures do not apply to transport associated with vital sectors, including health, cargo, and energy;
  • Authorities previously barred domestic travel in and out of all of 13 provinces, as well as the cities of Riyadh, Mecca, and Medina, from March 26. Authorities also introduced a 1500-1900 curfew for Riyadh from March 26. Essential workers in some public and private sectors are excluded from the order;
  • Authorities have shut down universities and religious schools nationwide. The King Fahd Causeway, linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, remains temporarily closed; it is unclear it will reopen. Land border crossings with Kuwait, Yemen, and the UAE remain closed until further notice. The closures do not apply to commercial transport.


Authorities could introduce further restrictive measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic with little warning; such measures could be ambiguous and occasionally contradictory.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Saudi Ministry of Health: www.moh.gov.sa

Saudi Ministry of Interior: www.moi.gov.sa

Saudi Ministry of Interior's Announcement: https://twitter.com/MOISaudiArabia/