Saudi Arabia suspends domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains

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RIYADH — Saudi Arabia suspended on Friday all domestic flights, buses, taxis and trains for 14 days starting from Saturday Mar.21, in a drive against the spread of the coronavirus, Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday quoting an official source in the Ministry of Interior.

"Only flights related to humanitarian cases, medical evacuation aircraft and private aviation would be provided the necessary permits issued by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA)," the source said.

According to the report, buses belonging to government agencies or public or private health facilities, and commercial establishments transporting their employees, or those that are used for health, humanitarian or security purposes are exempted from the ban.

The source said that these precautionary measures are recommended by the competent health authorities in the Kingdom as part of efforts to control the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Suspending taxis operating for 14 days, with the exception of the service provided in airports for air transport, as estimated by GACA and the activity of transporting individuals is limited to special vehicles working with applications,” the source added.

The Public Transport Authority (PTA) will coordinate with the Ministry of Interior, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), and other relevant authorities to urgently block the violating applications of passengers transport.

The security authorities will monitor the suspension of buses and taxis operating until the period ends.

Suspension of train services for all operators includes Riyadh-Dammam railroad through Abqaiq and Hofuf, the Riyadh- Al-Jouf railroad through the Majmaah, Qassim and Hail and the Haramain high-speed railway.

Commercial transport trains will continue operating, including the freight train between King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam and the Riyadh Dry Port and the mining train of the Saudi Railways Company (SAR). Also transport ferries between Jizan and Farasan Island will operate after reducing number of passengers to 100 people per trip, and will not allow travel for tourist purposes.

All cargo vessels will continue operating according to their usual program, taking all precautionary and preventive measures in accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health to reduce infection transmission.

The suspension, however, does not include the various means of transportation related to vital sectors such as health, services and basic commodities such as food, energy, water and communications, air freight and necessary security transfers. — SG


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