Saudi Arabia shortens quarantine for unvaccinated travellers coming from ‘green’ countries

Two-day reduction of isolation period follows decline in cases

Dalia Yashar, one of the first Saudi students who registered to become a commercial pilot, stands in front of the registration centre, CAE Oxford ATC, where Saudi women can pursue their carrier as a commercial pilots, at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, July 15, 2018. Picture taken July 15, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
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Saudi Arabia will reduce to five days the mandatory quarantine for unvaccinated or partially immunised people arriving from green-list countries.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation told airports in the kingdom it would cut the week-long isolation period by two days for such travellers and asked authorities to update the arrival procedures.

The rules apply to unvaccinated people or those who have taken only one dose of the Covid-19 vaccines approved in the kingdom, those of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

All arrivals, immunised or otherwise, must provide evidence of a negative PCR test for Covid-19 taken within the 72 hours before travel.

Travellers who have been fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine upon arrival in the kingdom, provided their PCR test result is negative.

A coronavirus test will also be conducted within 24 hours of their arrival and another test must be taken after five days. The quarantine period will automatically end based on a negative result and will be updated on the Tawakkalna Covid-19 app.

The decision was announced on Monday, September 13, and the Ministry of Interior said it was based on the kingdom’s evaluation of the current pandemic situation.

Coronavirus cases in Saudi Arabia have declined significantly in the past few months and the country has imposed heavy fines and even prison terms for those who do not follow health and safety procedures. The kingdom reported 70 new Covid-19 cases and five deaths on Sunday, a fall from 4,919 daily cases at the peak of the crisis in June 2020.

The country has registered 546,549 cases in total, including 8,661 deaths.

On September 7, it removed the UAE, Argentina and South Africa from its list of countries from which entry was banned. Saudi citizens are allowed to travel to and from these countries once again.

Saudi Arabia has donated 20 million riyals ($5.3 million) to purchase Covid-19 vaccines for less developed member countries in the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, state media reported. King Salman Relief Centre announced on Monday that the kingdom had contributed to more than 40 projects around the world to combat the coronavirus, at a cost of about $800 million.

Updated: September 19, 2021, 10:00 PM