Mecca, Medina get 24-hour curfew; Gulf migrant worker districts locked down

Mecca, Medina get 24-hour curfew; Gulf migrant worker districts locked down

Saudi Arabia imposed a 24-hour curfew on Thursday in the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina, extending measures to combat coronavirus, while other Gulf Arab states locked down districts with large migrant worker populations, Reuters reported.

The Saudi interior ministry stipulated exceptions, including for essential workers and to allow residents to buy food and access medical care. Cars may only carry one passenger.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 1,885 infections and 21 deaths, the most in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council. It has already halted international flights, suspended the year-round umrah pilgrimage, closed most public places, and heavily restricted internal movement.

The eastern oil-producing province of Qatif, where the kingdom’s first coronavirus cases were reported among Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims returning from Iran, has been on lockdown for nearly four weeks.

Entry and exit to Riyadh, Mecca, Medina and Jeddah is limited. Some neighbourhoods in Mecca and Medina were already under full lockdown, but in the rest of those cities the curfew was previously from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m.

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