Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Saudi Arabian government has brought home 250 nationals via a flight from Jakarta following the COVID-19 outbreak, according to Arab News as quoted here on Saturday.
The first phase of the evacuation on Friday (April 10) was part of an effort by the kingdom state to bring home its citizens from abroad in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said the passengers had arrived back in the kingdom onboard the Saudi Arabian Airlines from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta.
“We have received the first 250 passengers returning from Jakarta. It is one of the stages to bring Saudis back, and the flights were coordinated with Saudi Arabian Airlines,” GACA spokesman Ibrahim Al-Rosa said.
The repatriation flight follows the return on Wednesday of a group of nearly 200 Saudis from Bahrain. They were among 790 Saudi nationals left stranded in Bahrain by the virus outbreak who are being bused home via the King Fahd Causeway which connects the two countries.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched an e-service (https://www.mofa.gov.sa/es) platform where citizens can register their wish to return to the kingdom.
According to Al-Rosa GACA was working with the Saudi ministries of health, foreign affairs, and tourism to coordinate flight arrangements and that the authorities had set up a 24-hour joint operations center to oversee the safe return of citizens.
Three Saudi airports, namely, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, and King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, have been prepared to receive passengers from Jakarta, Washington, DC, Kuala Lumpur, Mauritius, Muscat, London, Manila, the Maldives, Colombo and New York as part of the initial stage of the initiative.
“The passengers will undergo 12 different preventive checkups (for COVID-19) divided into three stages; the first stage is before boarding the plane, the second is inside the cabin and the last stage is upon arrival where they will go through temperature screenings before quarantine for 14 days,” Al-Rosa explained.
Meanwhile, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced 364 new cases of COVID-19 in the Kingdom, 19 recoveries and three deaths.
The overall case count has now reached 3,651, with 2,919 active cases; 57 of them are currently in intensive care, while 685 had been treated and 47 had died.
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly said the ministry was running various COVID-19 advice and communication channels including the Sehha app, the 937 call center, the Mawid self-assessment app, and Tatamman app for specialized groups.
Reporting by Indonesia Window