Saudi Arabia Resumes International Flights After Two-Week Suspension Due to Mutant Covid-19 Strain

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Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday the lifting of the ban on all international flights as well as land and sea entry, the Saudi Press Agency reported. The two-week ban was part of the precautionary measures against the spread of a mutant variant of coronavirus detected in a number of countries, Xinhua news agency reported.

The lifting decision became effective from 11 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Interior Ministry.

Still, non-Saudi citizens should spend at least 14 days outside the countries identified as places where the new Covid-19 strain has broken out before entry and carry at least one test, the Minisry said.

Saudi citizens from those countries should be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival and carry two Covid-19 tests, it added.

Saudi Arabia discovered its first Covid-19 case in February 2020. After nearly a year of efforts to curb the spread of the virus, the number of daily cases in the Kingdom is now reduced to fewer than 200.

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Saudi Arabia's decision came after several European nations, including Italy, Belgium, France and the Netehrlands, have banned flights to and fro from the UK after report of the mutant strain, which has quickly spread cross London and the southeast of England.

On December 19, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that the newly identified strain of the virus may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible.