Saudi Arabia lifts international flight ban for foreign nationals

Saudi Arabian authorities will allow flights carrying foreign nationals to resume after placing a temporary hold due to a new, more infectious strain of the coronavirus, state television announced Sunday.

Under the new terms, any country dealing with the more infectious strain will still be restricted, and crew members on flights landing in Saudi Arabia will be confined to the plane, according to Bloomberg.

Last week, the kingdom announced all international flights would be suspended due to the new variant, first detected in southeastern England. The prohibition was set to last a week with the option to extend it if necessary.

Saudi Arabia has officially reported just over 361,000 cases of the virus, and official numbers have not shown a second wave of the virus like that of numerous other countries, including Europe and much of the U.S. Official U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines still advise Americans against traveling to the country.

Several countries responded to the new variant by banning flights from the U.K. The U.S. was not among them as of Sunday, and Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: COVID-19 relief waiting on Trump’s signature; government continues vaccine roll out First responders serenade Fauci with ‘happy birthday’ AIDS activists recruit Barbra Streisand for surprise Fauci birthday party on Zoom MORE, the U.S.’ top infectious diseases expert, has said such a move could be an “overreaction” and said the strain was likely in the country already. Public health experts have said the strain does not appear to be any deadlier and there is no reason to believe vaccines will not be effective against it.