The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has barred flights operating from India, Brazil and Argentina in the wake of massive surge in coronavirus cases in these countries. Saudi aviation regulator General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has not revealed when the ban would be lifted.
Except those visiting Saudi Arabia on the government's invitation, no other person who visited India, Brazil and Argentina in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the country.
"Indian airlines will not be allowed to operate flights to Saudi nor will any flights from the Gulf nation be allowed to fly to India from 24 September," LiveMint quoted an airline official, while confirming the GACA order, as saying.
The current GACA ruling will affect charter flights operated by Indian airlines including Air India, SpiceJet and IndiGo.
As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in India, other countries have also banned flights operating from India recently.
Hong Kong government on September 20 suspended all Air India flights amid a rise in fresh coronavirus cases in the country. The flights were suspended till October 3 after passengers aboard were found to be infected with coronavirus. Coronavirus cases in Hong Kong rose to their highest level in nearly a month on Sunday.
On September 18, Dubai authorities had also suspended all Air India Express flights temporarily for 15 days for allegedly carrying coronavirus positive patients to the UAE city twice.
The ban began on Friday, September 18, and will be in force till October 2. Besides, the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority also penalised Air India Express to bear all medical and quarantine expenditures of the COVID-19 positive patients who have been ferried to Dubai.
Meanwhile, India's COVID-19 case tally crossed 57-lakh mark today, with a spike of 86,508 new cases and 1,129 deaths in last 24 hours. With this rise, the total case tally stands at 5,732,519, including 9,66,382 active cases, 46,74,988 recoveries and 91,149 deaths.