Saudi Arabia lifts travel suspension for 11 nations

UAE, where Sinopharm boosters now available on walk-in basis in Abu Dhabi, is among the eleven countries

A Saudi man wearing a face mask gets his passport from a Saudi Immigration officer, at the King Khalid International Airport, after Saudi authorities lifted the travel ban on its citizens after fourteen months due to coronavirus disease Covid-19 restrictions, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 16, 2021. Reuters
A Saudi man wearing a face mask gets his passport from a Saudi Immigration officer, at the King Khalid International Airport, after Saudi authorities lifted the travel ban on its citizens after fourteen months due to coronavirus disease Covid-19 restrictions, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 16, 2021. Reuters

Travellers from 11 countries including the UAE will be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia again from today.

The decision, announced by the Saudi Ministry of Interior yesterday, ends a suspension of arrivals from the UAE, Germany, the US, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Japan.

People arriving from these countries will have to quarantine upon arrival.

The countries were among 20 nations from where travel was suspended in February to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The suspension also applied to travellers who transited any of these countries two weeks prior to seeking entry into the kingdom. Travel to Saudi Arabia from Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela and Yemen is not allowed.

Saudi passport authorities urged all travellers, including Gulf Co-operation Council citizens and new visa holders, to register proof of their vaccination electronically before their arrival, via the Muqeem vaccine registration page.

In the UAE, which has the highest vaccination rate in the world, health authorities in Abu Dhabi said yesterday that booster shots of the Sinopharm vaccine were now available on a walk-in basis in the emirate for people who had received their second dose at least six months earlier. The announcement by the Department of Health was made a day after authorities said the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would also be made available on a walk-in basis at more than 100 vaccination centres in Abu Dhabi.

More than 78 per cent of the UAE’s eligible population has been vaccinated. The country has a vaccination rate of 127.8 doses for every 100 people.

Updated: May 30, 2021 01:52 PM

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