RIYADH: Saudi Arabia was one the six Middle Eastern country to issue a travel ban on Friday, citing concerns over a new coronavirus strain named Omicron.
Visitors from seven African countries have been denied admission, according to the Saudi Interior Ministry and UAE authorities. South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini were mentioned as the countries.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, which cited an Interior Ministry official, the Saudi embargo covers flights to and from certain countries.
Foreign nationals from the seven countries, however, might enter the kingdom if they had spent the preceding 14 days in another country and followed Saudi health regulations, according to the statement.
The UAE ban, according to the official Emirati news outlet WAM, will take effect on Monday and will apply to all travelers travelling from those African nations, regardless of airline, and will include transit passengers.
According to the BNA News Agency, Bahrain has proposed similar sanctions aimed at six African countries, including South Africa.
Jordan’s Interior Ministry has imposed a ban on non-Jordanian travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini, based on recommendations from the health ministry.
Morocco, a North African country, has prohibited visitors from those nations due to concerns about a novel coronavirus type discovered in South Africa.
Similar prohibitions have been announced by a number of countries, including the United State and European countries, drawing criticism from South Africa.
South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla told reporters, “We believe that some of the reactions have been unjustified.”
The World Health Organization renamed the recently discovered B.1.1.529 strain of Covid-19 Omicron and declared it a variant of concern.
The mutation has been linked to an increase in new cases in South Africa, but it has also been found in Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel, and Botswana.