Employees who left Saudi to get official holiday

Houthis attack Abha airport in Saudi again, 1 killed

Riyadh: In light of the suspension of international flights to and from Saudi Arabia, its citizens and expatriates who are unable to return because of the travel ban or are being quarantined will be granted an "official holiday", its Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

Those working in the IT sector can opt for work at home.

All visitors currently inside Saudi Arabia, whose visit visas are about to expire, will now be able to extend their stay for up to 180 days, after paying a fee.

Extensions can be arranged via the Absher e-platform, or by visiting local passport departments if the visa cannot be extended electronically.

Saudi Arabia has extended its travel ban to include the European Union and 12 other countries, including India, as the number of coronavirus cases in the Kingdom jumped to over 60.

The government will also be suspending the entry to those coming from these countries and entry to those who were in those countries within a time period of 14 days prior to their arrival to the Kingdom.

The travel ban excludes Indian and Filipino medical practitioners working in the Kingdom, taking into account the necessary and required precautions, the report said.

The ministries of interior and health would coordinate while dealing with humanitarian and exceptional cases, without prejudice to the necessary precautionary and preventive measures.

Qatar restricts entry

Qatar also barred entry to arriving air passengers except citizens from Wednesday, the government said as it announced a USD 23 billion economic stimulus in response to the new coronavirus.

The country is the worst affected in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with 401 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday. It has not reported any fatalities but has closed universities, schools, gyms and cinemas as well as cancelling many public events including the MotoGP.

"We've taken a number of decisions, including suspending inward flights to Qatar starting from Wednesday evening for two weeks," assistant foreign minister Lolwah al-Khater told media in Doha.

The measure could be extended at the end of the initial two week period, she said, and will be accompanied by a USD 23 billion economic stimulus package that will include USD 2.75 billion to shore-up the stock market.

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