Oman, Kuwait close borders; Jordan, Sudan restrict flights

Cairo, Dec 21 (efe-epa).- Several Arab countries on Monday took preventive measures after a new coronavirus strain was detected in the United Kingdom, while the Gulf’s major stock markets dropped in the wake of the news.

Authorities in Oman decided “to prohibit entry to and exit from the Sultanate” for a week as of 22 December at 1 am local time, the state-run ONA reported.

The measure was taken after the detection of the new strain in the UK in order to prevent “the fierce virus attack and fast propagation”, the source added.

Oman had taken some of the strictest travel restrictions when the virus was first detected. It had closed its borders since mid-March until a couple of weeks ago.

So far, Oman has reported nearly 128,000 coronavirus cases and 1,488 deaths.

The Kuwaiti government’s communication center, meanwhile, announced on its Twitter account the “suspension of commercial flights from and to the Kuwait International Airport” as well as “the closure of all border routes, both land and sea”.

The measures will come into force as of 11 pm local time until 1 January, the statement ran.

Kuwait, with nearly 148,000 cases and 921 deaths, also closed the borders in mid-March, but it was reopened on 1 August.

In the meantime, the spokesperson for the Jordanian government Ali al-Ayed on Monday announced the suspension of “direct and indirect” flights from the United Kingdom on starting Monday till 3 January.

The ban could be extended, depending “on available reliable scientific information on the repercussions of the virus mutation,” the state-run Petra news agency cited the spokesperson as saying.

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