Covid quarantine breachers to be deported and banned from Saudi Arabia

All non-Saudi nationals will be subject to the new penalties

Saudi security control traffic on the first day of the annual Haj pilgrimage in Arafat, Saudi Arabia August 30, 2017.  REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

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Non-Saudis who breach quarantine laws will be deported from the kingdom and “permanently banned” from returning in the future, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior Affairs announced on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia lifted a travel ban on residents fully vaccinated against Covid-19 from 20 countries, a move which allows the return of thousands of expatriates stranded abroad for months.

The ban was issued by the Ministry of Interior in February to curb the spread of the virus.

Saudi Arabia's national airline, Saudia, said residents and nationals must ensure their vaccine status is updated in the government’s Tawakkalna mobile app, and all travellers to the kingdom must obtain and show proof of two doses of the following approved vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

Non-Saudis must carry proof of vaccination with them at all times while in the kingdom. Those with one dose of the vaccine must carry out two PCR tests, one upon arrival and one the week after, and obtain a negative PCR test report 72 hours before leaving the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia will only allow fully-vaccinated citizens to travel abroad. Saudia also announced the same applies to domestic flights starting September 1.

Both nationals and foreigners who have had two doses of a vaccine approved in the kingdom will be able to enter Saudi Arabia with no period of quarantine as long as they meet the criteria.

In May, more than a year after closing down travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a series of restrictions and penalties were issued for breachers, including five years in imprisonment and fines of up to 1 million riyals ($266,374).

The Ministry of Health said Covid-19 cases have dropped by 85 per cent in the past two weeks.

In July, the kingdom stepped up its efforts to further curb the spread of the virus and announced a three-year travel ban and fines for citizens who visit countries on the kingdom's Covid-19 red list.

Updated: August 31st 2021, 12:18 PM