Saudi Arabia has temporally suspended international flights on Sunday, December 20, and also suspended entry through its land and sea-ports for at least a week after a new fast-spreading strain of coronavirus emerged in the UK.
The kingdom is “temporarily suspending all international flights — except in exceptional cases — for a period of one week, which can be extended by another week,” the official Saudi Press Agency said.
“Entry to the kingdom through land and sea ports will also be suspended for a week, which can be extended by another week,” SPA added, citing the interior ministry.
However, the suspension does not apply to international planes currently in the UK that are allowed to depart, said SPA.
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The development comes after several European countries banned travel from the UK on Sunday when the UK government warned that a highly contagious new virus strain was “out of control”.
Also, Neighboring Kuwait announced a ban on passenger flights from the UK on Sunday because of the new strain of the virus.
SPA said passengers who came to Saudi Arabia from Europe – or any other country where the new strain was discovered – starting December 8, will need to self-isolate and undergo tests for two weeks.
Last week, Saudi Arabia launched a three-phase Covid-19 vaccination program after the first shipments of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine arrived in the kingdom.