PIA bans new bookings after Saudi govt restricts entry from 20 countries

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Islamabad (Web Desk): Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has said that its scheduled flights from Sialkot to Dammam, Multan to Madina and Islamabad to Riyadh will operate as per schedule before the ban takes effect.

Two PIA flights from Karachi to Jeddah and Lahore to Madina will also operate as per schedule, read a statement issued by the national flag carrier.

PIA’s spokesperson said the PIA flights will bring back stranded Pakistanis from the kingdom, adding that bookings of Saudi travellers have been postponed until the ban is lifted and their bookings will be renewed when the flight operations are resumed.

The development comes after Riyadh suspended entry to the kingdom from 20 countries to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the state news agency reported.

The temporary ban, effective from Feb 3, includes people arriving from the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the United States, Britain, South Africa, France, Egypt, Lebanon, India and Pakistan.

However, diplomats, Saudi citizens, medical practitioners and their families are exempted from the ban.

The ministry said the suspension would be implemented from 9 pm on Wednesday and includes travelers who transited through the aforementioned countries within the 14 days prior to their planned journey to the Kingdom.

The ministry said the decision was based on recommendations by Saudi health authorities.