King orders lockdown in Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh.

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An order issued by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Wednesday prohibits people of all the 13 provinces of the Kingdom from leaving the region or moving to another region.

The order takes effect on Thursday, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The royal order also bans people from entering or exiting the boundaries of Makkah, Madinah and Riyadh.

In a larger effort to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, the recently imposed curfew will begin at 3 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. in the cities of Makkah, Madinah and Riyadh.

The new directives will come into effect from Thursday afternoon until the end of the curfew period announced in an earlier order of the King.

The concerned authorities have been given powers to increase the curfew hours, or curfew throughout the day in the cities of Makkah, Madinah and Riyadh or other cities, governorates, and regions, and this shall be on the basis of the proposals of the Ministry of Health. The work on implementing this order will begin on Thursday, March 26, the royal order added.

The travel ban does not include groups and sectors that have been exempted previously from the curfew, bearing in mind that the exemption is in the narrowest scope and in accordance with the procedures and controls set by the concerned authorities.

Wednesday’s order is based on King Salman’s keenness on the health and safety of citizens and expatriates, and based on what the relevant authorities have presented to the need for more precautionary measures to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, the official news agency reported.

King Salman issued on Sunday a curfew order from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. for a period of 21 days, effective from March 23, to limit the spread of coronavirus in the Kingdom. Later, the Ministry of Interior gave clarifications regarding the sectors and employees that have been exempted from the curfew restrictions.

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