Coronavirus Update

Mar 10, 2020

As of 9 March 2020, there are more than 111,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus reported worldwide, with 3,840 deaths. At least 109 countries have reported at least one confirmed case of the virus. A total of six countries have reported more than 1,000 confirmed cases: China (80,735), South Korea (7,478), Italy (7,375), Iran (7,161), France (1,209) and Germany (1,151).

On 7 March Italian authorities issued a temporary quarantine order over the Lombardy region and 14 additional provinces in northern Italy in an attempt to contain the virus; more than 16 million people reside within the quarantine area. The provinces include Alessandria, Asti, Modena, Novara, Padua, Parma, Pesaro and Urbino, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Treviso, Venice, Verbano Cusio Ossola, and Vercelli. Under the most recent provisions, travelers are prohibited from entering and exiting the designated provinces except in the event of an emergency. In addition, authorities closed major public gathering sites, including cultural centers, theaters and ski resorts, to prevent additional infections from spreading; shopping centers will remain open Monday through Friday. All provisions are valid until 3 April.

On 9 March Saudi Arabia implemented restrictions prohibiting travel to and entry from the following countries as a precaution due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates; the restrictions also apply to travelers from elsewhere who visited any of the listed countries in the past 14 days. In addition, overland travel into Saudi Arabia has been restricted to commercial vehicles only, and all maritime access, excluding evacuation and shipping vessels, has been prohibited. On 7 March the Saudi Ministry of Interior stated that entry into Saudi Arabia from Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates will be restricted to King Abdulaziz International Airport (OEJN/JED) in Jeddah, King Fahd International Airport (OEDF/DMM) in Dammam and King Khalid International Airport (OERK/RUH) in Riyadh. However, reports indicate that Saudi authorities have begun restricting inbound flights from those countries to the listed airports. Travelers should remain abreast of local developments and check the status of planned flights.

Furthermore, travelers attempting to enter Saudi Arabia from countries not included in the list — but in which there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 — will be required to provide a laboratory certificate proving an individual has been tested and confirmed to be uninfected. Saudi authorities have been coordinating with officials from virus-affected countries to identify testing facilities with the required accreditation to perform and certify the results of the tests.

Following the Saudi announcement, Qatar implemented similar travel restrictions for 14 countries until further notice; individuals with current travel visas and foreign nationals with existing residence and/or work permits will be prohibited from entering the country. In addition, Qatari nationals were advised to avoid all but essential travel to any destination worldwide, the first government advisory of its kind since the start of the outbreak.

In the U.S., there are 564 confirmed cases across 34 states and the District of Columbia, with 22 deaths reported. Of the total, 21 cases were from the Grand Princess cruise ship, which is expected to dock at port facilities in Oakland, California on 9 March, after remaining offshore since 5 March. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State issued a Health Alert and urged U.S. nationals to refrain from undertaking cruise travel.

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