International Desk: A number of countries have decided to close their borders and suspend commercial flights to check the spread of a new coronavirus strain first discovered in the United Kingdom, reports Al Jazeera.
The identification of the highly infectious strain has caused chaos across the world, with many European and other countries shutting off travel ties with the UK and disrupting trade ahead of the Christmas holiday.
About 20 countries – including Turkey, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Canada – have banned all flights from the UK and more countries are expected to follow suit.
Here is a list of nations closing their borders over new COVID-19 strain:
Saudi Arabia suspended international commercial flights for a renewable week although foreign flights already in the country can leave, the interior ministry said on Monday. The Gulf state shut its land and sea borders on Sunday.
The measures do not apply to the movement of goods from countries where the new COVID-19 strain has not appeared, said a ministry statement carried on state news agency SPA.
Neighbouring Kuwait will suspend all commercial flights and close its land and sea borders from 11pm local time (20:00 GMT) on Monday until January 1, the government communications office said. Cargo operations will continue, it added.
Kuwait on Sunday recorded a total of 147,979 coronavirus cases, including 921 deaths and 143,926 recoveries.
Oman will shut its land, air and sea borders for a week starting yesterday, state television reported.
The decision will take effect starting at 1am local time yesterday morning.
As of Monday, Oman recorded a total of 127,931 coronavirus cases, including 1,489 deaths and 119,745 recoveries.
Meanwhile, Israel’s government has decided only Israeli citizens and foreigners with special permits, such as diplomats, will be allowed to enter the country.
They will be required to self-isolate at home unless they are travelling from the UK, South Africa or Denmark, in which case they must stay in specially designated quarantine hotels.
From Wednesday at 2pm local time (12:00 GMT), all Israeli incoming travellers will be required to quarantine for 10-14 days in the hotels. The new regulations will initially apply for 10 days, with the possibility of extension.
Spain will ban all travellers from the UK, except Spanish nationals and residents, from entering the country from yesterday, the Spanish government said on Monday.
Controls at the border with Gibraltar, where at least one case of the new COVID-19 variant has already been detected, will be stepped up, the government added in a statement.
It said the entry ban for non-residents had been coordinated with neighbouring Portugal, which announced its decision late on Sunday.