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Saudi to ease int’l flight restrictions tomorrow

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SAUDI Arabia will partially lift its suspension on international flights from tomorrow.

  Saudi interior ministry stated this yesterday after travel curbs were imposed due to coronavirus pandemic six months ago.

  Gulf citizens and non-Saudis with valid residency permits or visas will be allowed to enter the kingdom from September 15 as long as they are not infected with the virus, the ministry said in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency.

  Other “exceptional categories”, including government and military employees, foreign embassy workers and people requiring medical treatment, will also be allowed from September 15.

  The ministry added that Saudi Arabia will later announce a plan to gradually allow the umrah pilgrimage.

  Saudi Arabia suspended the year-round umrah in March over fears of the coronavirus pandemic spreading to Islam’s holiest cities.

  The kingdom also organised a scaled-down hajj in late July, with only up to 10,000 Muslims taking part in the annual pilgrimage, a far cry from the 2.5 million who participated last year.

  Saudi Arabia suspended international flights in March, leaving many citizens and residents stranded overseas.

  The kingdom has sought to contain a major spike in infections, which have now risen to more than 325,000 cases — the highest in the Gulf — and over 4,200 deaths.

  In June, Saudi Arabia moved to end a coronavirus curfew across the kingdom and lift restrictions on businesses, including cinemas and other entertainment venues.

  Similarly, Israel announces a three-week nationwide in a bid to quell soaring coronavirus cases, which have passed 4,000 new cases a day.

  The lockdown began Friday, just hours before the start of the Jewish New Year and the High Holidays.

  Yesterday, Housing Minister, Yaakov Litzman resigned in protest of the lockdown’s timing, which he said was an affront to Israel’s Jews.

  Also, France records 7,138 cases over 24 hours, the authorities announce, a day after their daily total passed 10,000.

  But yesterday figures are generally lower because of a delay in processing the figures over the weekend.

  In a related development, AstraZeneca and Oxford University say they have resumed a vaccine trial after getting the all-clear from British regulators, following a pause announced Wednesday that was caused by a UK volunteer falling ill.

  The pandemic has killed more than 921,000 people worldwide since surfacing in China late last year, according to an AFP count at 1900 GMT Sunday based on official sources.

  More than 28.8 million cases have been confirmed.

  The United States has the most deaths with 193,705, followed by Brazil with 131,210, India with 78,586 and Mexico with 70,604.

Authorities in Australian city Melbourne arrest more than 70 people for flouting stay-at-home orders to protest against lockdown restrictions, with some demonstrators clashing with riot police.

  About 250 people attend the illegal protest — the second in as many days in Melbourne — promoted by coronavirus conspiracy groups on social media.

Austria is experiencing the start of a second wave of infections, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz says, as cases spike upwards in line with other EU countrie

  From Friday to Saturday, the Alpine nation of nearly nine million people reported 869 new cases — more than half of those in the capital Vienna.  Authorities fear that the mark of 1,000 cases per day would be reached soon. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said “what we are experiencing is the beginning by reducing social contacts.

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