Coronavirus Prevention

KAUST is a global university with students, researchers, and professionals supporting our mission all around the world. Global health authorities are concerned as COVID-19 (also known as 2019 Novel Coronavirus) is spreading quickly around the world. There are no confirmed cases at KAUST or in Saudi at this time and the KAUST Coronavirus Taskforce is responding to the evolving situation to provide a cautious and considered approach to protecting our community.

Our priority is to keep you safe and well.

University Response 

The University has put into place a Coronavirus Taskforce made up of representatives from across the University. The taskforce is collaborating closely with appropriate authorities both inside and outside of KAUST to put measures in place to reduce our chances of bringing the virus into the community. 

They have put processes and procedures in place which aim to prevent the disease from impacting the community, as well as to support people under travel restriction and quarantine. All appropriate measures are being put into place to keep the community safe and well during this time.

All University offices and labs, The KAUST School and daycare, and all community services are functioning as normal. 

This website is updated in real-time as new information becomes available. Please check back often for updates.

Everyone can help

Everyone has a part to play with preventing coronavirus from affecting the University and the community members that support it. For some, this means practicing good hygiene, but for others this will mean not being able to travel or being put into quarantine, which can have serious impacts on work and studies, individuals, and their families. Please understand that it is important, for the health of yourself, your family, your colleagues, and the world, that you read, understand, and adhere to all instructions issued by the Coronavirus Taskforce and their designees. Failure to maintain the expectations of these instructions may result in disciplinary action by the University.

Protecting your own health

Understanding how to protect yourself from Coronavirus:

In general, you can protect yourself from infection by doing the following:

  • Do not have physical contact with anyone in quarantine. Keep at least 1m (preferably 3m) away from people who are in quarantine.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who is unwell with a fever or cough or is sneezing.
  • Help to stop catching and spreading germs:
    • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water and use hand sanitizer if available. Preferably do both.
    • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, then place the tissue in a bin.
    • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes with unwashed hands – germs can enter your body this way.
    • Use antibacterial wipes or solutions to clean surfaces.

Should I use a surgical-style face mask? 

Advice from the KAUST Coronavirus Taskforce clinical team 

Surgical-style face masks are better at keeping germs in than keeping germs out. There is no good evidence that wearing a surgical-style face mask is of any benefit in protecting you from contracting the coronavirus (or any other similar virus). It is much more important that you closely follow the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ advice. 

Viruses can’t move themselves. You have to help them into your body to cause infection and these germs are most likely to gain entry through your eyes, nose and mouth. So don’t help them get there!

What if I have symptoms or suspect I may be infected?

If you haven’t traveled to affected areas, you are at a low risk of being infected with COVID-19. However, if you are concerned or if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms, please  remain where you are and call KAUST Health at 012-808-0940 or 012-808-4444 explaining your travel history and arrangements will be made to see you.

Travel Planning

High-risk regions

The list of high risk regions is changing, and this information will be updated regularly as new areas are included. Factors that are considered include number and rate of change of confirmed cases, population density and geographical proximity to other affected areas.

As it currently stands for KAUST purposes, the below list is currently considered a “high-risk region”:
  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Iran (in-line with local regulations) - added Feb. 23
  • Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy (including Milan and Venice) - added Feb. 23
  • Japan
  • Macau 
  • Malaysia
  • Republic of Korea 
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
This list is evolving based on latest information – we will endeavor to keep it updated as needed.

Traveling to, from, or through high-risk regions

  • Do not plan to travel to any high-risk region. This includes transiting or transferring through high-risk regions.

  • Saudi government instruction is as follows: Saudi Arabia has suspended all travel to China and Iran for citizens and non-Saudi residents living in the Kingdom. Foreign residents who are currently in or have been to China or Iran in the last 14-days will not be allowed back in the country.

  • Visitors, including family members, coming from/through high-risk regions will not be permitted to KAUST at this time.

  • If you have any travel plans that involve travel to, from, or through high-risk regions, you must inform KAUST immediately by emailing 
  • Official KAUST activities such as business trips, student studies, or conferences which require travel to, from, or through the affected areas must be postponed until further notice.

Traveling outside of high-risk regions

  • Regardless of where you are traveling, we encourage you to register your travel plans so we can support you in the event that somewhere you are traveling to, from, or through is added to the list of high-risk regions while you are away. This survey is intended to be filled by anyone who lives or works at KAUST, and for all travel destinations worldwide. 

  • Additional health screening procedures have been put in place on arrival in many countries. If you are traveling, you should comply with these measures.  For further information, contact your airline or the local health authority at your destination.
  • Those traveling outside of high-risk regions do not need to adjust their travel plans. Any personal decision not to return must be discussed and agreed as personal leave with your line manager.

If you are currently in a high-risk region

  • Remain where you are. Those in high-risk regions are not permitted to travel back to KAUST at this time. We acknowledge that this is likely to be difficult for you, however this is to reduce the potential for the virus to spread globally and is based on advice from international authorities.

  • If you are in a high-risk region, contact for more information and support for your specific situation. 
  • For the safety of yourself and others, please strictly follow the health advice issued by KAUST and local authorities.


Quarantine means restricting the movement of well people in case they develop a disease, become infectious, and spread it to others. To combat the spread, travel restrictions and quarantine practices have become common worldwide, and are also in place at KAUST.
  • Several community members have been placed into quarantine because they meet certain risk criteria. This does not mean that COVID-19 has reached our community – it is simply a precautionary measure.
  • As of February 17, the number of people in quarantine at KAUST is continuing to decline. This is because people are following official instruction not to return, and others have completed their 14-day quarantine period. 
  • For these individuals, quarantine is not optional and it is being strictly enforced. They must follow instructions provided the KAUST Coronavirus Taskforce. Failure to maintain the expectations of these instructions may result in disciplinary action by the University.
  • Provisions are in place to support quarantined individuals.
  • Information for quarantined individuals can be found in this quarantine information sheet (version 1.6), which is also available in Chinese (version 1.6). 

What to expect at KAUST entry gates

At this time, everyone entering KAUST is offered an information leaflet and is asked a series of questions to pre-screen for Covid-19. You may be directed to KAUST Health for further evaluation, and KAUST residents that meet certain risk criteria may be required to go into quarantine for up to 14-days. If this is the case, support measures are in place to make this period as comfortable for you as possible.
As a result of the above, please expect some delay upon your arrival to KAUST.

Community Events

As part of our considered response to the Coronavirus threat, the following events have been postponed:
  • Parade of Nations - New Date: April 16
  • Flavors International Food Festival - new date pending

At this time, all other community events are continuing as scheduled. The Taskforce are continuing to monitor the situation and will continue to consider further changes to community events.

Past updates

Here is an archive of all of the past updates KAUST Health has shared on this topic:

Contact information

If you have any health queries or concerns regarding COVID-19, please do not hesitate to contact the KAUST Health Patient Relations team at or 012-808-0940.

Thank you for participating in keeping our community safe and well.