JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday announced that it will lift an entry ban on expats from six countries that was introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior issued directives to allow direct entry for fully vaccinated expatriates from Indonesia, Pakistan, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt, and India without the need to spend 14 days in transit outside their countries before entering the Kingdom. The changes will commence at 1 a.m. on Dec. 1.
Expats arriving from these countries must spend five days in quarantine regardless of their vaccination status outside the Kingdom.
The MOI explained that all procedures and measures are subject to continuous evaluation by the Kingdom’s health authorities.
The ministry added that expatriates hoping to return to the Kingdom should undergo all health measures to ensure they are free from infection.
Last February, the direct entry ban was imposed due to a global surge in cases linked to variants detected in Britain, South Africa, and Brazil, with fears that vaccines being rolled out worldwide could be less effective against them.
The ban covered the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, the US, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Japan.
Exceptions to the ban included diplomats, medical staff, and their families.
The ban also applied to travelers who transited through any of the 20 countries in the 14 days before a planned visit to the Kingdom.
Flights to and from the Kingdom were first suspended on March 14, 2020, two weeks after the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus outbreak was a pandemic.
Entry to Saudi Arabia by air, land, and sea resumed on Jan. 3, 2021.
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