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Saudi Arabia to fine people hiding health details on entry

Saudi Arabia will impose a fine of up to 500 000 riyals ($133 000) on people who do not disclose their health-related information and travel details at entry points, a statement from the kingdom’s public prospector said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia imposed on Sunday a temporary lock down on its eastern oil-producing province of Qatif, after it announced four new cases of Coronavirus there, and said they had contact with a previous case who visited Iran but did not disclose his travel details to the authorities.

Saudi Arabia suspended travel with nine countries on Monday and said legal action would be taken against any citizen travelling to Iran, which reported 237 deaths from the virus on Monday.

The kingdom said most of the individuals with coronavirus returned from Iran – home to major Muslim Shi’ite shrines- or interacted with people who visited the Islamic republic. Qatif has a large Shi’ite population.

“All the travelers coming to the kingdom by international flights, managers and workers of other transportation means have to respect local and international health directives,” the statement said.

A fine of up to 500 000 riyals will be imposed on people who do not comply, it said, adding that transport professionals will be held responsible for any fallout from their violations.

Four new cases, including an American who visited Italy and the Philippines, took the tally to 15 in Saudi Arabia, prompting the government to suspend travel from nine neighbouring countries including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt.

The UAE, a major regional business hub and transit point for passengers to Asia, announced 14 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the total number of people infected to 59.

Of the new cases, there were four Emiratis and three Italians, state news agency WAM reported, citing a statement from the Gulf state’s health ministry.

In neighbouring Qatar, authorities followed other countries in the region and announced they were suspending schools and universities from March 10 to prevent the spread of the disease.

Qatar reported three more cases of the virus on Sunday, bringing the total there to 15.



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