Saudi Arabia on Thursday barred its citizens and residents from travel to China amid the coronavirus outbreak, international media confirmed. According to reports, the information was confirmed by the kingdom's General Directorate of Passports, who said that the measure was in response to the disease outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Saudi Arabia has not yet reported any cases of the virus, however, five cases have been confirmed in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates.
According to media reports, Saudi Arabia on Sunday evacuated 10 students from Wuhan city, the epicentre of the deadly contagious disease, and quarantined them upon arrival. Saudi Arabia's national carrier, Saudia joined other major airlines to temporarily stop operations in China. As per reports, countries like the United States have also taken drastic steps to prevent the spread of the virus in their country. Washington has barred entry of foreign nationals coming from China, other than the immediate family of citizens and permanent residents.
According to the latest media reports, the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus has claimed more than 420 lives in China alone. The confirmed reported cases have reached up to 20,000 as of February 4 and as per US CDC, confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in 27 other countries. The disease is believed to have originated in a seafood market in Hubei's Wuhan city, the epicentre of the virus outbreak, where animals were being traded illegally.
China is handling the situation quite effectively as just recently the country built a hospital in a record time of just eight days to house the patients affected by the disease. International press earlier reported that Chinese authorities have imposed a strict quarantine in 12 cities across the country, 11 of which are in the Hubei province. Beijing is also building another hospital in the Wuhan with a capacity of an estimated 1,600 beds.