Saudi Arabia reopens airports at full capacity

Rule change is first since outbreak of the pandemic 18 months ago

Saudi female officers from  the national security forces, register and check pilgrims at the Hajj Terminal at Jiddah airport, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019.  The annual Islamic pilgrimage draws millions of visitors each year, making it the largest yearly gathering of people in the world.  (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
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Saudi Arabia’s civil aviation authority has said it will now operate all airports in the kingdom at full capacity.

The "entire capacity of the kingdom’s airports will be used to operate domestic and international flights", said the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

All travellers will be required to verify their immunity status, using the Tawakkalna application.

It comes as the kingdom relaxes measures introduced to curb the spread of Covid-19.

This is the first time the kingdom has allowed airports to operate at full capacity since the pandemic began last year.

"This is great news. It is a huge step towards leading a normal life again," said Abdullah, a Saudi national living in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia removed the requirement for masks and social distancing in open spaces on Sunday after a decline in the number of Covid-19 cases.

People are no longer obliged to wear masks in open spaces, except at the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.

Saudi Arabia recorded three coronavirus-related deaths and 41 new cases on Sunday.

Updated: October 18, 2021, 5:50 AM