Saudi Arabia announces plans to limit Eid gatherings

Kingdom's health authorities say vaccinations against coronavirus will continue quickly through holiday

The Grand Mosque, Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Reema Albaz
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Eid gatherings in Saudi Arabia must be limited to 20 people but vaccinations against the coronavirus will continue quickly through the holiday, health authorities said on Sunday.

Health Ministry spokesman Dr Muhammad Al Abdulaali urged the public to be vaccinated, especially those with medical conditions that make them more susceptible to Covid-19.

“Vaccines do not interfere with any disease, allergy or pregnancy,” Dr Al Abdulaali said.

He said no one had died after receiving a coronavirus vaccination in Saudi Arabia.

With the end of Ramadan this week, Dr Al Abdulaali said the Health Ministry was calling on worshippers to follow coronavirus guidelines while performing the prayer for Eid Al Fitr.

Vaccination centres will remain open through the Eid holiday, he said.

Anyone over the age of 75 should go to the nearest vaccination centre and did not need to book in advance, Dr Abdulaali said.

More than 10.5 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country of about 30 million people.

Saudi Arabia reported 942 Covid-19 infections and 13 deaths from the virus on Sunday.

“There is fluctuation in the coronavirus curve in Saudi Arabia and we hope it will decline as it did in the past,” Dr Al Abdulaali said.

The Interior Ministry said there had been 25,672 breaches of the country’s precautionary measures over the past seven days.

Earlier on Sunday, the Hajj Ministry said that this year’s pilgrimage would go ahead with Covid-19 measures.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation said airports would begin operating flights at 1am on May 17 for all citizens travelling abroad.

“Only those who have the Tawakkalna app will be allowed to enter the airports and planes,” the ministry said.

Tawakkalna is the government app that allows users to enter shops, hotels, cafes and public buildings. It includes a system to alert people if they come into contact with the virus.

Aviation authorities said that updated travel guidelines would be issued soon.

They praised the logistics effort to bring Covid-19 vaccines into the country, saying 53 tonnes of vaccines had arrived through three airports aboard 52 aircraft.

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