Saudi Arabia imposed a 24-hour curfew in the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina on Thursday, extending measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 1,700 people in the kingdom and killed 16.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement there were some exceptions, including for essential workers and in order for residents to buy food and access medical care.
Cars in those cities’ residential districts may only carry one passenger to limit the virus’ transmission, it said.
The country of 30 million has taken drastic steps to contain the disease, halting international flights, closing most public places and suspending the year-round Umrah Pilgrimage.
On Tuesday, it asked Muslims to put plans for the annual hajj pilgrimage on hold pending more clarity about the pandemic.
Restrictions on movement have tightened, with entry and exit to Riyadh, Mecca, Medina and Jeddah heavily restricted.
Some neighbourhoods in Mecca and Medina were already under full lockdown, but in the rest of those cities, the curfew was previously from 1500 to 0600.