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Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman to close borders over new COVID strain

A traveller wearing a protective face mask wheels his bags at Riyadh International Airport, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 31, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman are closing their borders and suspending commercial flights over fears about a new coronavirus strain, the three Gulf Arab states said.

Saudi Arabia shut its land and sea borders on Sunday and suspended international commercial flights for a renewable week although foreign flights already in the country can leave, the Interior Ministry said.

The measures do not apply to movement of goods from countries where the new COVID-19 strain has not appeared, said a ministry statement carried on state news agency SPA.

Neighbouring Kuwait will suspend all commercial flights and close its land and sea borders from 11 p.m. on Monday until Jan. 1, the government communications office said. Cargo operations will continue, it added.

In Oman, land, air and sea borders will be shut for one week starting Tuesday, state television reported.

Several countries have cut travel ties with Britain after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a highly infectious new strain of the virus was a danger to the country.

Reporting by Hesham Abdul Khalek and Ahmed Tolba in Cairo, Raya Jalabi in Dubai and Ahmed Hagagy in Kuwait; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Angus MacSwan