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The Financial Express

Saudi imposes 24-hour curfew in Mecca, Medina

| Updated: April 03, 2020 15:31:13


General view of Kaaba, which is almost empty of devotees after suspension of umrah amid coronavirus outbreak, at holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia March 6 –Reuters Photo General view of Kaaba, which is almost empty of devotees after suspension of umrah amid coronavirus outbreak, at holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia March 6 –Reuters Photo

 Saudi Arabia imposed a 24-hour curfew in the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina on Thursday, extending measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1,700 people in the Kingdom and killed 16.

The interior ministry of the Kingdom made the announcement in a statement that also said some essential workers will be excluded from the order so that residents can buy food and access medical care, reports Khaleej Times.

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 urged Muslims to delay plans for the annual Haj pilgrimage 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 3pm to 6am.

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