Saudi Arabia reopens to vaccinated foreign tourists

Visitors must have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine that has been approved for use in the kingdom

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Saudi Arabia will allow fully immunised tourists to enter the country for the first time in 17 months, the country’s Ministry of Tourism said on Sunday.

Visitors are now allowed to enter the kingdom without quarantine if they have two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

Those immunised with the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines will be allowed to enter if they have also had a booster dose of any approved vaccine.

Entry from the 17 countries on the Saudi travel ban list, which includes the UAE, remains forbidden.

The kingdom’s Ministry of Interior warned Saudi citizens not to travel to any of the countries on the list.

“Anyone who does will be subject to legal accountability upon his return and be banned from travelling for three years,” a representative said.

Kingdom prepares to welcome Umrah pilgrims

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said more than 20,000 pilgrims would “be received from within and without the kingdom to perform Umrah in the upcoming days”.

Pilgrims must be adults, in good health and fully immunised against Covid-19. They must also comply with health protocol.

A total of 500 Umrah agencies and 6,000 foreign Umrah agents are set to receive pilgrims from abroad.

Covid-19 vaccination is also now mandatory to enter government premises and some private buildings in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said public, private and non-profit organisations would not allow unvaccinated employees or visitors to enter their establishments.

“Entry for people under 12 years old is allowed as they are among the groups excluded from vaccinations,” a government spokesman said.

Employers have been told to allow unvaccinated staff to work remotely or let them take leave until they have been immunised.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Commerce said the fine for establishments flouting the safety measures would start at 10,000 Saudi riyals ($2,666) and could reach 100,000 Saudi riyals.

In total, 3,400 establishments were penalised for breaching precautionary measures in July.

More than 27 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the kingdom at 587 vaccination centres.

Twelve deaths and 1,084 new Covid-19 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.

Updated: August 02, 2021, 4:39 AM