Cairo: Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait announced on Sunday that they are suspending air travel from several African countries amid the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
The Saudi Ministry of Interior said on Sunday that the kingdom is stopping travels with Angola, Zambia, Mauritius, Madagascar, Malawi, the Seychelles and Comoros Islands, as well as prohibiting their citizens from entering the Arab country. At the same time, Riyadh will allow entry to those who are coming from a third country, provided they spend 14 days in quarantine there as well as another five days in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Oman has decided to bar entry from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique starting Sunday. According to the state-run Oman News Agency, the ban does not affect the sultanate’s citizens, diplomats and health workers.
Kuwait is also postponing passenger flights with the same countries as Oman as well as Malawi and Zambia. Citizens arriving from those countries will be able to enter Kuwait after a 14-day quarantine, government spokesman Tareq Mizrem told the state-run Kuwait News Agency.
The World Health Organization (WHO) identified on Friday the new South African strain as one of concern, as it is reported to carry a high number of mutations — 32 — which possibly makes it more transmissible and dangerous. The WHO has dubbed it Omicron, the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.