Saudi Arabia suspends flights to UAE due to virus variant | Coronavirus pandemic news


Flights to Ethiopia and Vietnam were also banned without the prior permission of the authorities.

Saudi Arabia has said it is suspending flights to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ethiopia and Vietnam to protect itself against a coronavirus variant.

The move announced on Saturday came seven weeks after the kingdom allowed fully immunized citizens to travel abroad after a travel ban that lasted more than a year.

Flights to the three countries will stop starting at 11pm on Sunday, according to the state news agency SPA, which quoted an Interior Ministry official as saying. He added that Saudi citizens and residents returning from these countries will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Citizens would be prohibited from “traveling directly or indirectly, without the prior permission of the … authorities.”

The decision was made because of “the ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the spread of a new mutated strain of the virus,” he added, without explicitly mentioning the increasingly emerging Delta variant globally.

First detected in India and currently present in at least 85 countries, Delta is the most contagious of any coronavirus variant identified.

The United Arab Emirates, a popular leisure destination for many Saudi Arabs, especially Dubai, announced last week that it had registered cases of the Delta variant and had suspended flights to and from India.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has placed significant limits on the Hajj’s annual pilgrimage. It has officially recorded more than 490,000 cases of coronavirus, including about 7,850 deaths.

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