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Saudi to ease international flight restrictions Tuesday
Saudi Arabia will partially lift its suspension of international flights from September 15.
AFP, File

Saudi to ease international flight restrictions Tuesday

(Agence France-Presse) - September 14, 2020 - 7:59am

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia will partially lift its suspension on international flights from Tuesday, the interior ministry said, six months after travel curbs were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The kingdom will end all restrictions on air, land and sea transport for Saudi citizens "after January 1" next year, the ministry added on Sunday, adding that an exact date will be announced in December.

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

People in other "exceptional categories", including Saudi government and military employees, embassy workers, students and people requiring medical treatment, will also be allowed to enter and exit the kingdom from Tuesday.

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

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.

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

But Saudi Arabia has also reported a high rate of recoveries, which surpassed 302,000 on Sunday.

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

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS SAUDI ARABIA
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June 22, 2021 - 10:48am

The health ministry says Colombia's death toll from COVID-19 passed the 100,000 mark with a new 24-hour record of almost 650 deaths,.

After three weeks of demonstrations that have brought thousands of people into the streets to protest the government of conservative President Ivan Duque, the South American country of 50 million is suffering its worst moment since the pandemic began. 

It has now recorded 100,582 dead, including 648 in the past 24 hours, the ministry says. — AFP

June 22, 2021 - 7:56am

Facemasks will no longer be compulsory outdoors in  Italy, one of the countries in Europe worst hit by the coronavirus, from June 28, the health ministry said Monday.

The lifting of the mask requirement would come into effect in regions labelled "white" under Italy's classification system for how rapidly the virus is spreading, Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote on Facebook.

This includes all Italian regions except the tiny Aosta Valley in the far northwest. — AFP

June 20, 2021 - 9:09am

Brazil on Saturday crossed the grim threshold of 500,000 coronavirus deaths, trailing only the United States in lives lost to Covid-19.

"500,000 lives lost due to the pandemic that affects our Brazil and the world," Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tweeted.

The latest update from his ministry said the toll is now 500,800, with 2,301 deaths in the past 24 hours. Experts say government Covid figures underestimate the real toll from the health crisis. —  AFP

June 19, 2021 - 2:06pm

The Netherlands announces further easing of a raft of measures to combat coronavirus, including an end to mask-wearing in most places.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the country was "taking a big step" towards a life without restrictions, from June 26.

"Almost everything is possible at a distance of 1.5 metres," he adds. — AFP

June 18, 2021 - 2:41pm

Lights, camera, real live audiences — Milan fashion welcomes back actual people to its shows Friday, a sign the industry is ready to start turning the page on virtual formats adopted during the pandemic.

The numbers are still modest, with only Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Etro inviting an audience to their men's Spring/Summer 2022 collections.

"This is the dress rehearsal of the return to normalcy," Federica Trotta Mureau, editor of the Italian fashion magazine Mia Le Journal, told AFP. 

The shows represent baby steps but the effect of the live events, instead of the video presentations or short films relied on since early last year when coronavirus cut short the twice-yearly shows in Italy's business capital, would still be appreciated, Mureau said. — AFP

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