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Saudi suspends all international flights, closes land and sea ports over new virus strain

Saudi suspends all international flights, closes land and sea ports over new virus strain

New urgent measures have been put in place for one week, with the possibility of an extension

SAUDI-HEALTH-VIRUS-TRAVEL

Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for one week, with the possibility of extension for another week, after the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus in parts of the world, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported late on Sunday.

International flights already in the kingdom will be allowed to leave, SPA said, quoting an official source at the Ministry of Interior.

Flights will only be allowed in “exceptional cases”, the report said.

The kingdom has also suspended entry through land and sea ports temporarily for one week, which can be extended for another week.

Meanwhile anyone who has returned to Saudi from one of the European countries or any country where the new strain has appeared after December 8, 2020, as determined by the Ministry of Health must adhere to the following:

* Home isolation for two weeks, starting from the date of entering the kingdom.

* Take a Covid-19 test during the isolation period and retake the test every five days.

Travellers who have returned from or passed through a European nation or any country where the new strain has appeared, during the past three months, must also take a Covid-19 test, the report stated.

“The movement of goods, commodities and supply chains from countries where the new strain of Covid-19 has not appeared are excluded from the above-mentioned measures, as determined by the Ministry of Health in coordination with the Ministry of Transport,” it added.

According to the report, the urgent measures have been taken based on information submitted by Saudi’s Ministry of Health regarding the spread of a new strain of Covid-19 in a number of countries. They will remain in place “until medical information about the nature of this virus becomes clear”.

“These procedures will be reviewed in light of the developments related to the pandemic, and the reports received from the Ministry of Health,” the report said.

A new strain of the virus has been identified in the UK, with country’s government warning that the fast-spreading strain was “out of control”.

Several countries including parts of Europe, Canada and Turkey temporarily suspended flights to the UK on Sunday.

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