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Saudi health minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah, talks to a health official as he discuss the latest situation on coronavirus at the Saudi Food and Drug Authority in Riyadh February 27. Image Credit: AP

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has prepared 25 hospitals to handle any coronavirus cases that might be detected, a health ministry spokesman said on Sunday.

The kingdom has not reported any cases of the virus so far. A Saudi foreign ministry official also said that only Umrah and tourism visas for some countries had been suspended, and that business visas are still available.

He also said that trade activity hasn’t been affected so far by coronavirus.

Measures

On Thursday (February 27, 2020) Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry announced the suspension of entry of GCC citizens to Saudi Arabia using their national ID — requiring them instead to use their passport.

All Saudis are required to use their passports from now till further notice, the statement said. Saudis abroad who want to return to the country or Gulf citizens in Saudi Arabia who wish to leave are also required to do the same, according to the statement.

Saudi Arabia received more than 7 million visitors for religious tourism in 2017, about 45% of 16 million total arrivals.

Saudi Arabia granted 400,000 visas since it opened its tourism industry.

In the same statement Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended entry to the kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

- With inputs from agencies