Saudi bans Filipinos

THE Philippines is among 38 countries covered by a temporary travel ban clamped by the Government of Saudi Arabia on Thursday in an effort to stop the increase of coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) cases in the Kingdom.

An advisory issued by the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah said the Kingdom announced it imposed a temporary travel suspension to 12 more countries including the Philippines.

The Saudi Ministry of Interior said countries covered by the travel ban are: the Philippines, European Union countries, Switzerland, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, and Somalia.

Philippine Consul General to Jeddah Edgar Badajos said the travel suspension gives a 72-hour window (three days) starting March 12 for Saudi citizens and those with valid iqama (residence permit) from the countries covered by the ban to return to or exit from the Kingdom before the travel suspension takes effect.

However, health workers from the Philippines and India returning to Saudi Arabia including evacuation shipping and trade trips are exempted from the travel ban.

Health workers returning to the Kingdom will be subjected to special medical evaluation upon arrival.

They are also advised to coordinate with their employers in the Kingdom prior to their return.

Saudi Arabia had earlier suspended issuing visas for tourists and banned “umrah” pilgrims from visiting the holy sites.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday recorded 54 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The death toll from the disease exceeded 4,200 while over 118,000 people were infected in over 100 countries.