Saudi Arabia decided to ban all international flights as well as suspend entry to the country via all its land and seaports for at least a week with the possibility to extend the restrictions by another additional week.
The government of Saudi Arabia took immediate measures reacting to the fast-spreading of the new COVID-19 virus mutation found in the United Kingdom. The country temporarily suspended all international air operations for a week starting from December 20, 2020. In addition to the strict flight ban, the government also decided to suspend entry to the country through its land and seaports from December 22, 2020.
However, some international flights will be taken into account as the exception of the rule. The governmental restrictions will not be applied to air carriers whose aircraft have already entered Saudi Arabia before the restrictions were implemented. In such cases, planes would also be allowed to leave the country. The exception will be also applied to air cargo operations as well as cargo vessels.
The Saudi government also released a requirement for passengers who have already entered the country starting from December 8, 2020. Passengers who arrived from European countries or any other country where cases of the new strain were reported, are required to self-isolate for the two-week-long period as well as undergo the COVID-19 testing.
Saudi Arabia’s neighbor Kuwait was the first non-European country that reacted to the new mutation spread and suspended entry for UK travelers on December 21, 2020. Also, Kuwait added the country to the high-risk countries list, following which all the flights from the UK were temporarily terminated. However, the government of Kuwait did not clarify the exact duration of such air travel restrictions.
Saudi Arabia is one of 29 countries worldwide which announced air travel restrictions due to the spread of a new virus mutation in the UK.