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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia bans travellers from Kenya

Saudi Arabia on Thursday banned travellers from 12 countries in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Kenya was a surprise inclusion in the list despite having registered no case of the killer virus.

The ban also affected travellers from the European Union and 11 other countries as they also extended flight and travel bans from Switzerland, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.

In a statement through the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Kingdom also banned travel of its citizens to the named countries.

The decision excludes health workers in the kingdom from the Philippines and India as well as evacuation, shipping and trade trips involving necessary precautions, who were given 72 hours to return to the Kingdom, the SPA report said.

Saudi Arabia had already banned travel to some 19 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, South Korea, Egypt, Italy and Iraq in response to the coronavirus threat.

Millions of migrant workers

Kenyans are among millions of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia who come from many of those countries that have been banned.

Last week, Saudi Arabia confirmed its first case of new coronavirus after one of its citizens who had returned from Covid-19 hotspot Iran tested positive.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Kingdom now stands at 45 after 24 news cases were announced on Thursday.

The Arab nation also suspended the Umrah pilgrimage, closed schools and cinemas, cancelled conferences and sporting events as a preventive measure against the spread of the deadly virus.

The country has since locked down the oil-producing region of Qatif, where many of its cases of Covid-19 were reported.

No case of coronavirus has been reported in Kenya since its outbreak late last year in the Wuhan City of China.

The virus has so far killed 4,635 people and there are currently 126,386 confirmed cases in 124 countries and territories.