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Saudi extends ban on international flights, permits foreigners to leave kingdom

Saudi extends ban on international flights, permits foreigners to leave kingdom

The kingdom had closed its air, land and sea borders a week ago over concerns about the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus

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Saudi Arabia is extending its ban on international flights and will keep its borders closed for another week, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.

The kingdom had closed its air, land and sea borders a week ago over concerns about the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus.

However, an official source at the Ministry of Interior confirmed that non-Saudis will be permitted to fly out of the country. The decision will not cover countries dealing with the new Covid-19 strain and crew members of flights landing in the kingdom are not allowed to leave their planes, according to the report.

The report also said “exceptional cases” will be exempt from the entry ban.

“Saudi Arabia’s government decided to extend the aforementioned measures for another week, to continue assessing the situation, and to ensure safety of citizens and expatriates, with an emphasis on excluding the movement of goods, commodities and supply chains,” the statement said.

The new strain of the coronavirus, which was identified in the UK earlier this month, and the country’s government warned that the fast-spreading strain was “out of control”.

Kuwait and Oman also closed their borders last week, with the sultanate announcing plans on Sunday to reopen its borders after one week.

Read: Covid-19 update: Oman to reopen its borders on December 29

Several countries temporarily suspended flights to the UK last week, with the Philippines extending the ban on UK flights until mid-January.

On Sunday, China also asked airlines to suspend UK flights from December 28 to January 10.

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