Omicron: Saudi Arabia bans flights from 7 African countries

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An official source at the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday the suspension of flights coming from and going to seven countries, namely Malawi, Zambia, Madagascar, Angola, Seychelles, Mauritius, and Comoros.

The source stated that this decision was taken due to reasons related to the outbreak of the emerging coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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It was also based on the constant follow-up of the epidemiological situation and reports of the health authorities in Saudi Arabia about the emergence of a mutated strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) “Omicron” in several countries, and monitoring the movement of infected people from these countries to other countries.

The official source said that the non-Saudi passengers arriving directly or indirectly from the aforementioned countries are not allowed to enter Saudi Arabia provided that they spend 14 days in other countries allowed by Saudi authorities.

That means only Saudis are allowed entry from these countries with others needing 14-day quarantine.

The exempted categories, including Saudis, coming from the seven countries need to go into to a five-day constitutional quarantine regardless of the state of vaccination, the source added.

The Ministry of Interior stressed that whoever enters the Kingdom from those previously announced countries or states, or passed through them, as of Nov. 1, 2021, is required to have a negative PCR result for the virus conducted after arriving in the Kingdom.

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The suspension comes after reports on the spread of a new coronavirus variant ‘Omicron’ in these countries. Last Friday, Saudi authorities had announced the suspension of flights to and from seven African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Eswatini.

The official source reiterated that all procedures and measures are subject to continuous evaluation by the competent health authorities in the Kingdom, per the developments of the epidemiological situation globally, warning citizens and residents to avoid traveling to the aforementioned countries until further notice. — SPA



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