Saudi Arabia has extended the ban on entry to the Kingdom by air, land and sea for another week over the new coronavirus strain, according to a statement released by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Monday. However, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has permitted airlines on Sunday to transport non-Saudi passengers outside the Kingdom.
The statement emphasized that the decision was a precautionary measure adopted by the Ministry of Interior against the spread of the new variant of COVID-19, which had been detected in a number of European countries. Meanwhile, any exceptional cases would be exempted from the entry ban and non-Saudi citizens are allowed to leave the Kingdom.
GACA has issued permits to foreign airlines to operate charter flights on the condition that the crew of a landing plane at the Kingdom's airports do not leave their plane, and that they do not have any sort of physical contact with the staff of the arrival airport. The authority clarified in the circular that these instructions do not include the countries where the new mutated strain of coronavirus has appeared and that the airlines must coordinate with the Air Transport Department about this before applying for flights.
The Kingdom had suspended all international flights on December 21 for a week amid a new mutated strain of Covid-19, which is now extended 'temporarily' for another week.