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Dubai: Saudi Arabia announced the suspension of schools and higher education institutions as of Monday, March 9, until further notice, the Saudi Press Agency said on Sunday.

The Ministry of Education announced the implementation of virtual school and distance learning during the suspension period as a precaution to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Covid-19.

Saudi Education Minister Hamad Al Sheikh said the virtual learning as well as distance learning would be implemented during the suspension.

“The situation will be evaluated on a daily and weekly basis before deciding to reopen schools, colleges and universities,” the minister said.

All educational and Koranic activities at mosques are also suspended from Monday to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, state television reported.

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Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has also postponed the Saudi Games, the kingdom's largest sporting event, until further notice over coronavirus fears, the Al-Arabiya television station said on Sunday, citing the organising committee.

The games were due to run from March 23 to April 1, with more than 6,000 athletes from the kingdom's 13 regions, both men and women, expected to participate.

The Saudi entertainment authority announced early on Monday the closure of Riyadh boulevard and winter wonderland, state TV reported.

Four new cases were reported on Sunday, taking the tally to 11 cases, all in Qatif Province, which has been locked down, preventing entry and exit to the region, in an effort to combat the Covid-19 virus.