Saudi Arabia eases travel ban for vaccinated citizens - GulfToday

Saudi Arabia eases travel ban for vaccinated citizens


Saudi nationals scan their documents at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. Reuters

Vaccinated Saudis will be allowed to leave the kingdom for the first time in more than a year on Monday as the country eases a ban on international travel aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus and its new variants.

For the past 14 months, Saudi citizens have mostly been banned from travelling abroad out of concerns that international travel could fuel the outbreak of the virus within the country of more than 30 million people. The ban, in place since March 2020, has impacted Saudi students who were studying abroad, among others.


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In recent months, however, the kingdom has vaccinated close to 11.5 million residents with at least one jab of the COVID-19 vaccine, making them eligible to depart the country Monday under the new guidelines. Authorities will also allow people who have recently recovered from the virus and minors under 18 years of age with travel insurance to travel abroad.

A Saudi woman is seen walking with her luggage as she arrives at the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh. Reuters

Saudi travellers are required to show their health statuses to airport officials through the government's health app, Tawakkalna. Travelers returning from abroad will be required to quarantine at home and be tested for the virus.

The kingdom, which has covered coronavirus-related hospitalisations for citizens and residents, imposed some of the most sweeping measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus early on in the pandemic. They include shuttering mosques and businesses for several weeks at a time, dramatically scaling down the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and sealing its borders to travellers.

A recent list of countries for which direct or indirect travel remains restricted, however, includes a number of high-risk nations, including Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey and India.

Associated Press

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