Gulf Air suspends all flights to and from Saudi Arabia until further notice, March 9 to stem spread of COVID-19.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 09 Mar 2020 19:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least early March
  • Impact: Flight disruptions, education facilities closed

Summary
Gulf Air (GF) announced it would begin suspending all flights to and from Saudi Arabia until further notice, March 9, in an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Authorities in Bahrain previously announced a series of measures in early 2020. Officials suspended flights to and from Iraq and Lebanon until further notice Feb. 26. As of March 9, flights to and from Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Sharjah International Airport (SHJ) in the UAE remain canceled, despite authorities not officially extending a temporary 48-hour suspension of flights Feb. 26. Bahrain's Civil Aviation Affairs (CAA) has also announced a reduction in the number of regional flights.

Authorities also announced that they will close all public and private schools, universities, and nurseries from Feb. 25 for two weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Authorities also advised against attending or organizing large public gatherings Feb. 28.

The flight suspensions and internal restrictions may be reviewed and either shortened or extended in the coming days. Flight disruptions are likely after the suspension is lifted as officials clear flight backlogs. The Bahraini authorities may announce additional restrictions on travel and public gatherings in the coming days. Restrictions are likely to remain in place through March.

Background and Analysis
The WHO has declared the ongoing outbreak of the virus to be a global health emergency. COVID-19 originated in China's Wuhan City in Hubei Province and has since spread to several countries across the globe.

As of March 9, there are 95 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bahrain. All individuals infected with the disease had traveled to Iran.

Advice
Confirm all flights if traveling to and from Bahrain through early March. Abide by restrictions on public gatherings. Plan for further restrictions.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. 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
Bahrain International Airport: www.bahrainairport.com

Dubai International Airport: www.dubaiairports.ae

 


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