Dec 21, 2020 - World

Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights over new coronavirus strain

 Travellers queue at car rental stands inside the Abha airport in the southern Saudi Arabian popular mountain resort of the same name , on July 2, 2019.

Abha International Airport in Saudi Arabia. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia has closed its borders and suspended international flights for a week, citing a new variant of COVID-19 first detected in England, per the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The big picture: Several countries have halted flights from the U.K. as a precaution against this new variant, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "may be up to 70% more transmissible" than the original version. Saudi Arabia has confirmed over 361,000 cases and more than 6,100 deaths from the virus, per Johns Hopkins. It hasn't enacted any restrictions since it began lifting them in May, Bloomberg notes.

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