Kenyans planning to fly to Saudi Arabia have been dealt a blow after the country extended travel ban to Kenya in the wake of coronavirus outbreak across the world.
The ban also affects citizens from the Europeean Eunion, Switzerland, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.
The country in Western Asia has also barred its citizens from travelling to the named countries.
According to reports by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), citizens and residents in the affected jurisdictions have been given 72 hours to return to the Kingdom.
The ban is an extension of a directive issued on March 9 suspending travel to Oman, France, Germany, Turkey, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Italy, and South Korea.
The Kingdom also suspended the entry of those coming from the countries, and entry of those who were there during the 14 days prior to their arrival.
Kenyans are among many Africans who travel to Saudi Arabia in search of jobs.
It’s not clear why Saudi Arabia extended the ban to kenya yet the country has no reported case of coronavirus.
As of Thursday, the country had reported 24 new cases of the virus. The total numbers of infections in the country now stands at 45.
The country locked down the oil-producing region of Qatif, where many of its cases of the virus were reported.
Other measures that the Kingdom has put in place to contain the spread of the virus include suspending Umrah pilgrimage, closing schools and cinema as well as announcing the cancellation of conferences and sporting events.
Globally, more than 118,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in 114 countries and 4,291 deaths.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak, which is fast spreading across the world, a pandemic.
“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that #COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said WHO Director- General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
A pandemic is a disease for which people do not have immunity spreading over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population
According to WHO, coronavirus is a respiratory illness clinically resembling viral pneumonia and manifesting as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.