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Saudi Arabia enforces 24-hour daily curfew in Mecca, Medina amid coronavirus pandemic

Residents of both metropolis may leave their homes only for necessary reasons including buying food and for medical care only between the hours of 6 a.m. till 3 p.m

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Saudi Arabia has enforced a 24-hour daily curfew in the holy city of Mecca and Medina, extending measures to combat the novel coronavirus.

According to the Saudi interior ministry, residents of both metropolis may leave their homes only for necessary reasons including buying food and for medical care only between the hours of 6 a.m. till 3 p.m. Residents going out must remain within their residential area.

Beside these all commercial activities were also shut down in both Mecca and Medina and only pharmacies and grocery stores are allowed to operate.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 1,885 infections and 21 deaths while 328 people have recovered, according to the health ministry.

The kingdom has already suspended international flights, halted the year-round Umrah pilgrimage, closed most public places, and heavily restricted internal movement.

On state TV on Tuesday, the Minister for Hajj and Umrah, Mohammed Saleh Benten, asked Muslims to defer preparations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage scheduled in late July due to the pandemic.

Some neighbourhoods in Mecca and Medina were already under full lockdown, but in the rest of those cities, the curfew was previously from 3pm to 6am.

Last week, King Salman bin Abdulaziz approved measures that placed Riyadh, Mecca and Medina on lockdown, which is still in effect. Residents are still banned from entering or exiting the cities.

the authorSamra Mazhar