All international flights, including those of Air India’s, to and from Saudi Arabia were suspended for a week on Monday owing to fears over a new strain of coronavirus that put London and all of southern England on a Christmas lockdown last week.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Monday cited a source from Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry to inform that all international flights will remain suspended for a week and said that there is a probability that the suspension could be extended for another week depending on the circumstances. It also outlined that the flights will be allowed only in exceptional circumstances.
“An official source in the Ministry of Interior: The Kingdom decides to suspend all international flights for travelers – except in exceptional cases – temporarily for a week, which may be extended for another week (loosely translated from Arabic),” GACA tweeted on Monday.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman were among the Gulf nations whose governments announced that they would ban entry and exit via their land and sea borders barring cargo movements and cancel commercial travel. An AFP report said that the ban will not apply to international aircraft currently in the kingdom, which will be allowed to leave. The report also said that cargo from nations where the new strain has not caused an outbreak will be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia.
Several nations in Europe and the Middle East have closed their doors to the UK and temporarily halted international commercial travel as a fast-spreading strain of coronavirus put several parts of the United Kingdom in a lockdown. The UK government on Sunday had told the media that the new strain of coronavirus is out of control.
India also suspended all flights from the United Kingdom from December 22 to December 31 over fears of the new Covid-19 strain. Poland, Russia, Hong Kong, Germany, Italy, Morocco and several other countries have stopped operations to and from the UK in order to limit the spread of the new strain.