Updated: Mon, 23 May 2022 09:10 AM IST
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) | Jagran News Desk: Saudi Arabia on Sunday banned its citizens from travelling to 16 other countries, including India, amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
Besides India, the 15 other countries are Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, and Venezuela.
It should be noted that India witnessed a slight spike in cases over the past few weeks. On Sunday, the country also reported its first cases of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants of the COVID-19 - one case in Tamil Nadu and another in Telangana.
"Contact tracing of the BA.4 and BA.5 patients is being undertaken as a precautionary measure," said Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) in a statement.
The government has urged people not to panic, but said that all necessary precautions, including the usage of masks, must be followed.
No case of monkeypox in kingdom
Further, Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry said that no case of monkeypox has been reported in the country. It also assured its citizens that the Kingdom has the capability to monitor suspected monkeypox cases and fight the infection if any new case emerges.
"There is a standard definition of suspected cases and the way to confirm them and monitoring and diagnosis methods are available in the laboratories of the Kingdom," Gulf News quoted Dr Abdullah Asiri, deputy minister of health for preventive health, as saying.
"Until now, cases of transmission between humans are very limited, and therefore the possibility of any outbreaks occurring from it, even in countries that have detected cases, are very low," he added.
So far, 92 monkeypox cases have been reported in 12 countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). The global health body has said that it working to better understand the extent and cause of the outbreak.
It addded that the virus is endemic in some animal populations in a number of countries, leading to occasional outbreaks among local people and travelers.