Saudi Arabia bans international flights as Google develops virus app

Coronavirus is bringing a global shutdown; it is reversing the globalization as many countries have banned flights. Saudi has banned all the flights including Pakistani flights. Google on the other hand had developed an app for coronavirus self-check.

Saudi Arabia - virus

Saudi Arabia said Saturday it would suspend international flights for two weeks in response to the corona virus outbreak.

“The Kingdom’s government decided to suspend international flights for two weeks (Starting from Sunday March 15th) as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of #CoronaVirus,” the foreign ministry tweeted.

Saudi Arabia has recorded 86 cases of the virus so far, but no deaths, according to the health ministry.

The kingdom had already halted flights to some countries and closed schools and universities as part of measures to contain the disease.

Authorities have also suspended the “umrah” year-round pilgrimage to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina for fear of the virus spreading.

Read more: Scholar of Iran calling coronavirus ‘divine punishment’ got infected himself

Google building self-check website for corona virus

US President Donald Trump announced Friday that internet giant Alphabet is creating a website where people will be able to check whether they have symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

Verily Life Sciences, once a project in a Google X lab devoted to “moonshot” projects and now its own health business unit, is testing a “tool to help triage individuals for COVID-19 testing,” Google confirmed on Twitter.

“Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time,” the tweet said, referring to San Francisco and surrounding communities.

Trump thanked Google while declaring a state of national emergency due to the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Google is helping to develop a website “to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,” Trump said.

Google has a large team of engineers devoted to the project, and has made significant progress, according to Trump.

“Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus and help all Americans impacted by this,” Trump said.

“Again, we don’t want everybody taking this test. It is totally unnecessary. And this will pass.”

A launch date for the website should be known by late Sunday, according to Vice President Mike Pence.

“You can go to the website, type in your symptoms and be given direction whether or not a test is indicated,” Pence said.

The website will then direct users to locations where they can obtain drive-through testing, he said.

San Francisco has begun setting up temporary, drive-through corona virus testing locations.

AFP with inputs from GVS News Desk

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