Vital causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia set to reopen on Monday
A stream of visitors expected to pass through the King Fahd Causeway for the first time in more than a year
The King Fahd Causeway linking Bahrain and Saudi Arabia is to reopen on Monday, after remaining closed for more than a year as a Covid-19 precaution.
The bridge, which was closed in March last year, will reopen with 27 lanes in the departure area and 36 in the arrival, the director of the King Fahd Causeway Passports, Col Duwaihi Al Sahli, told Bahrain state media. It will open at 1am local time.
Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on air, sea and land travel on the same day. Travellers from the kingdom will need to show authorities an “immune” or “recovered” status on the Saudi Tawakkalna app, the King Fahd Causeway Authority said.
Non-Saudis travelling from Bahrain must show the negative result of a PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours or a GCC-approved application proving they are vaccinated.
Traffic has been minimal on the causeway during the past year, said Nasser Ali Al Qaedi, chief executive of Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority.
The reopening "will be a breath of fresh air for both sides”, Mr Al Qaedi said, adding that he expected a surge in arrivals.
“We’ve developed some specific campaigns for the Saudi market just to showcase all the changes and things that have happened ,” he said.
The causeway was due to open on March 31 but this was delayed when authorities on both sides of the bridge increased safety measures.
“The return of GCC tourists indicates the return of activity to the tourism sector as a whole in the Kingdom of Bahrain," Mr Al Qaedi said.
"It strengthens confidence in the tourism sector, and paves the way for a new phase towards supporting the economic, hospitality, transport and all other sectors which will constitute a positive boost to the economic and investment sector.”
Bahrain has seen a slow rise in Covid-19 infections since the start of the year, with 197,400 confirmed cases and 732 deaths.
The latest figures also show more than 1.39 million doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered to the Gulf nation’s population of 1.64 million people.
Saudi Arabia has not been hit by a second Covid-19 surge. As with Bahrain, a vaccination campaign is on and stay-at-home measures are in force.
This year, unlike last year, the annual Muslim pilgrimage Hajj will include pilgrims from abroad. Details have yet to be announced.
Updated: May 16, 2021 06:51 PM