HARARE, Rwanda

RwandAir, the national airline of Rwanda, on Monday, suspended its flights to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia owing to the new strain of coronavirus that has been reported in the three Southern African countries.

According to a statement from the Rwandese national airline, “scheduled flights will resume as soon as there is more clarity on the situation.”

RwandAir suspended flights to the three countries with effect from Monday owing to fears of importing the 501Y.V2 COVID-19 variant.

Zimbabwe, currently battling with over 34,000 coronavirus cases, recorded 13 new deaths and 106 cases Monday. There are over 28,000 recoveries so far.

According to the Zimbabwean government, the country’s tourism sector lost approximately US$1 billion in revenue last year due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Emirates Airline of the United Arab Emirates Tuesday also suspended flights to Zimbabwe “due to operational reasons.”

Emirates flights to this country will not be operating for two weeks between Feb. 13 and Feb. 28, the airline’s announcement said.

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