Saudi Arabia calls on citizens in China’s Wuhan city to prepare for evacuation

Saudi Arabia is calling on its citizens in China’s Wuhan province to communicate with them to prepare for an evacuation, the Kingdom’s embassy said via its Twitter account, amid heightened fears over the spread of a coronavirus that has infected more than 1,200 people and killed 41.

The virus-hit Chinese city of Wuhan has been on lockdown amid the spread of the disease.

China has cut off trains, planes and other links to Wuhan since Wednesday, as well as public transportation within the city, and has steadily expanded a lockdown to 16 surrounding cities with a combined population of more than 50 million, greater than that of New York, London, Paris, and Moscow combined.

For its part, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation issued its own statement saying it was taking precautionary measures for all direct and indirect flights coming from China to the Kingdom.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned China was facing a “grave situation” given the “accelerating spread” of a new SARS-like virus that has infected nearly 1,300 people across the country, state media reported Saturday.