Saudi Arabia extended the international flights ban as well as entry suspension to the country via all its land and seaports for another week until January 4, 2021, amid the fast-spreading of the new COVID-19 virus mutation found in the United Kingdom.
The government of Saudi Arabia decided to extend the halt of all international commercial flights regarding the ongoing spread of the new COVID-19 virus variant worldwide. On December 27, 2020, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia warned that following the government decision all international operations will be suspended for another week until January 4, 2021.
The Ministry of Interior told the local media that some international operations would be taken into account as an exception to the rule. The halt will not be applied for the departure of non-Saudi Arabian citizens, air cargo operations as well as the movement of goods, supply chains, and commodities in and out of the country.
Initially, the government 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. Passengers who arrived from European countries or any other country where cases of the new strain were reported, are required to self-isolate for a two-week period as well as undergo COVID-19 testing.
Multiple governments worldwide had imposed temporal air travel restrictions on the UK as a result of the fast spread of a more infectious strain of the COVID-19 virus mutation on December 21, 2020. Scientists have counted that a new variant of the virus, found in the UK, could be up to 70% more infectious than the already known version, but have a similar mortality rate.