Saudi Arabia extends entry ban amid coronavirus variant fears

Published December 28, 2020
Travellers wearing protective face masks walk at Riyadh International Airport, after Saudi Arabia reopened domestic flights, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 31, 2020. — Reuters/File
Travellers wearing protective face masks walk at Riyadh International Airport, after Saudi Arabia reopened domestic flights, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 31, 2020. — Reuters/File

Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry on Monday extended a ban on entry to the kingdom by air, land and sea for another week amid concerns over a fast-spreading variant of the new coronavirus, the state news agency SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia shut its borders on Monday Dec 21 and suspended international commercial flights on a rolling weekly basis although foreign flights already in the country were allowed to leave.

The ministry said it is evaluating the situation while allowing non-citizens to leave the kingdom and allowing entry for exceptional cases, SPA reported.

The measures do not affect the movement of goods.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had also halted all its flights scheduled to Saudi Arabia since Dec 21. PIA spokesman Abdullah Khan had said all affected passengers would be accommodated at the earliest upon flight restoration.

PIA is resuming commercial flights to Saudi Arabia on Monday (today) to bring back stranded Pakistanis after Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation allowed non-Saudis to leave the kingdom and permitted foreign airlines to operate flights for the purpose.

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