Saudis allowed to return from Bahrain over King Fahd Causeway

The bridge between the two nations remained closed to passenger traffic since March 7

FR8K58 King Fahd Causeway in Bahrain. Alamy
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Saudi Arabians are now allowed to use the King Fahd Causeway to return home, the Saudi embassy in Bahrain said on Wednesday.

Citizens will not have to obtain approval to re-enter.

"Starting today, the embassy in Manama would like to announce the possibility of the return of Saudi citizens in the Kingdom of Bahrain who wish to return to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia via King Fahd Bridge without prior permission, " the embassy in Manama said on Twitter. It said Saudi nationals would be required to follow the government's coronavirus containment measures once in the kingdom, including a quarantine.

The causeway closed when borders on both sides shut on March 7 as coronavirus began to take hold and nations around the world scrambled to limit the numbers of people coming in from abroad.

Since then, no passenger traffic has crossed the bridge, but cargo vehicles still made the journey to make deliveries under certain conditions.

The causeway is a vital route for the small island kingdom. Of the 11.1 million tourists who entered Bahrain last year, 9.7 million – 88 per cent – travelled across the bridge.

During the closure – the first time the bridge has been shut for a prolonged period since it opened in 1986 –  major upgrades have been made.

New customs gates and e-payment lanes will increase traffic capacity by 45 per cent, officials said.

The embassy also announced on Wednesday that Saudis travelling into Bahrain by air must quarantine for 10 days.

Both nations took swift action to stem the spread of the virus. Saudi Arabia confirmed 2331 new cases of the virus on Wednesday, bringing its tally to 258,156 and fatalities to 2,601.

Bahrain confirmed 321 new cases of Covid-19. Among these 162 were expatriate workers and the rest were secondary contacts. The country also reported a overnight death toll of 130.