Saudi Arabia will suspend flights with three countries, including neighboring United Arab Emirates, to fight the spread of a “new” variant of the coronavirus, the interior ministry said on Saturday.
In May, the prosperous oil kingdom allowed its “immune” citizens to travel beyond the one-year limits. The Emirates is a popular destination for Saudis, especially Dubai.
Flights to the Emirates and Ethiopia and Vietnam have been “suspended” since Sunday, and Saudi nationals and returning foreign nationals will have to undergo a 14-day “quarantine”, the official Saudi news agency (SPA) said.
In addition, “citizens are prohibited from leaving directly or indirectly without the prior permission of competent authorities”, to these three countries.
Without explicitly naming the delta variant, the decision was made “in light of the current epidemiological situation of the coronavirus and the new mutation strain of the virus”, initially identified in India, which led to new actions in many countries. Detention measures.
Like other Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia is home to a large foreign workforce from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
The United Arab Emirates announced last week that it had registered cases of Delta, Beta and Alpha variants, which have largely opened its borders to international tourists. The country has suspended flights to India.
More than 490,000 pollution cases, including nearly 7,850 deaths, have been officially reported in Saudi Arabia as it prepares to welcome the Hajj, the great Muslim pilgrimage under austerity measures.