Saudi Arabia to ban unvaccinated people from public spaces

Citizens and residents must be vaccinated to enter malls, restaurants, shops and markets from August 1

Saudi Arabia will bar people who have not been inoculated against Covid-19 from entering public spaces from August 1.

Citizens and residents must show proof of vaccination to enter malls, restaurants, shops and markets, the kingdom’s ministry of municipal and rural affairs said this week.

“In line with the ministry’s efforts to protect the public’s health, vaccination is required for every citizen and resident in order to enter public and private facilities, while complying with precautionary measures to maintain public health,” the ministry said on Twitter.

The kingdom on Thursday reported 1,162 new cases of Covid-19 and 15 deaths.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, Saudi Arabia has reported 513,284 coronavirus cases and 8,115 fatalities.

The imposition of the ban follows a decision to bar citizens from travelling abroad if they have not had two shots of the Covid-19 vaccine.

The travel rule, which comes into effect on August 9, follows the spread of new coronavirus variants, the interior ministry said.

The decision was made based on new waves of infection around the worldy, new mutations, and the "low efficacy of one vaccination dose against these mutations", the ministry said.

Children under the age of 12 will be exempt from the rule, provided that their travel insurance covers coronavirus-related costs and is pre-approved by the Saudi Central Bank, the ministry said in a statement released by the Saudi Press Agency.

Those who caught the virus in the past six months and have received their first dose of vaccine are exempt.

The kingdom has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines, with more than 20 million doses administered so far.

The ministry has started to administer the second dose of approved vaccines to all age groups across the country.

Updated: July 22nd 2021, 1:51 PM