Saudi Arabia bans flights to and from India as the coronavirus cases mount

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The Saudi Arabian civil aviation regulator General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has suspended travel to and from India due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

Apart from India, the banned countries include Brazil and Argentina too, which has been seeing a sharp spur in the daily coronavirus cases.

“Saudi Arabia has suspended travel to and from India, Brazil, and Argentina; including any person who has been there 14 days prior to their proposed arrival in Saudi,” GACA said in a statement to airlines.

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However, the official notice excludes the “passengers who have official government invitations”.

This comes at a time when India is negotiating with other countries to set up air bubbles for gradually scaling up international flight operations.

Earlier last week, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) suspended Air India Express flight for 24 hours after two passengers were travelling on the flight with COVID-positive certificates. Two days ago, the Hong Kong administration also banned Air India from flying to its airport for two weeks till October 3 after a string of Indians onboard tested positive for coronavirus.

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Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia, along with other middle east countries, host a significant Indian migrant population.

India has been crossing new records every day with the rising number of coronavirus cases. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data, India recorded 83,000 in the past 24 hours. The country’s overall COVID-19 tally in India has crossed 56 lakh mark, and the death toll has climbed to 90,020.

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