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Saudi Arabia will resume international flights, opening land and sea ports as from 11am on Sunday, amid strict precautions against the new COVID-19 variant, an official source said.

Saudi Arabia is set to scrap entry ban related to a new strain of SARS-CoV-2 on Sunday, state media reported, citing an interior ministry source.

On December 21, Riyadh announced the halt to international flights and the closure of sea and land border crossings due to a new coronavirus mutation detected in a number of countries. On Monday, the kingdom extended the measures for another week.

According to the news agency, the country will resume international flights and reopened borders from 11:00 a.m. (8:00 GMT) today. 

Non-citizens coming from the UK, South Africa, and other countries that have detected the new variant of the novel coronavirus will be required to spend no less than 14 days outside the affected countries before entering the kingdom, the agency said. Such travellers will also need to provide negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the coronavirus.

Travellers from other countries will have to spend three to seven days in self-isolation and also provide PCR test results.

A new strain of SARS-CoV-2, which could be up to 70 per cent more transmissible, was discovered in southeast England in mid-December. Despite many countries having suspended air service with the UK, the new strain is said to have spread across Europe and further afield.
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