The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of Saudi Arabia has made the announcement to close all the Saudi airports for international flights for 2 weeks from Sunday as a step to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
On Saturday, seventeen new cases of the novel COVID-19 surfaced in the Kingdom, increasing the total to 103 from 86 on Friday.
The aviation authority has issued a formal NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) for the suspension of the international flights from Sunday.
The suspension would be starting from 11 a.m. local time on Sunday, the ministry has said that in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
Also Read: Saudi Arabia Suspends Flights to Pakistan
Some flights would only be permitted in the exceptional cases during the span of 2 weeks, as per the notice.
As per the announcement, residents who cannot come back during this span, it would be considered as an official holiday.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan and the PIA had previously asked the Saudi authorities to extend the deadline aimed at barring the flights to and from the Kingdom over coronavirus fears until the 25th of March, as the operation of bringing the stranded Pakistanis back to homeland is yet to be completed.
The Saudi authorities have however denied the request.
It is important to mention that the GACA in its circular sent to all the airlines operating to and from airports of Saudi Arabia has said that a time limit of 72 hours has been given to the citizens of Kingdom and to the current residents holding valid Iqama to return to Saudi Arabia.