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From today until further notice, all Pakistan International Airline (PIA) flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been suspended.
The development takes place when the Saudi government temporarily suspends entry into the Kingdom after the United Kingdom has identified a new strain of the coronavirus. The mutation is believed to be more contagious.
A PIA spokesperson said that 18 flights to and from the Kingdom were suspended by the national carrier today under the directives issued by the Saudi Aviation Authority. These include PK-9739 and PK-9760.
The suspension of flights will remain in effect until the Kingdom reopens its borders, after which passengers will be accommodated.
The PIA spokesman asked effected passengers to register with their working phone numbers via the airline’s UAN 11-786-786 to obtain timely updates.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and scientists said on Saturday that a new strain of coronavirus found in the United Kingdom is up to 70 percent more infectious, but it is not thought to be more deadly and vaccines should still be effective.
Johnson and Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer of England, said the variant strain had been discovered through the genomic monitoring of Public Health England, and it has now been confirmed that it spreads more quickly than the original version.
“There’s no evidence that it causes more severe illness or higher mortality, but it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily,” Johnson told a news conference to announce tougher lockdown restrictions for millions of people.
“Although there’s considerable uncertainty, it may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant, the original version of the disease. This is early data and it’s subject to review.