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Saudi opens border for foreign travellers, but keeps Indians waiting

Saudi Arabia will impose institutional quarantine on arriving passengers starting from May 20

Monday May 17, 2021 12:57 PM, ummid.com with inputs from IANS

Saudi Travel Ban Lifted

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia will lift the travel ban which was imposed last year in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic from Monday, with authorities saying that they were ready to operate international flights at full capacity.

However, travellers from India and some other countries will still be barred from entering the Kingdom till further order, the authorities said.

In an announcement on Sunday, the Interior Ministry announced that May 17 will mark the full opening of all borders -- air, land and sea, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Only Vaccinated People allowed"

The Kingdom will allow people who received Covid-19 vaccines to travel along with those who recovered from infection in less than six months, it said.

Citizens below 18 can travel if they have health insurance policy that covers coronavirus-related risks.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will impose institutional quarantine on arriving passengers starting from May 20, the Ministry announcemed.

The decision was based on the recommendations by the competent health authorities.

"Exception for official delegations"

Some categories of passengers will be excluded from the quarantine, including Saudi citizens, their spouses and children.

Along with passengers who received Covid-19 vaccines, official delegations, as well as diplomats and their families residing with them will also be excluded from the institutional quarantine.

But the excluded categories, except for the vaccinated individuals, will be required to undergo home quarantine, with an emphasis on the need to obtain a valid health insurance policy to cover the risks of the coronavirus.

"India and these countries still barred"

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Airlines said in a statement that it has completed preparations to operate flights to 71 destinations from 95 airports, including 28 domestic and 43 international destinations, reports Arab News.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation said that around 385 flights are expected to operate throughout the Kingdom's airports on Monday.

The Interior Ministry however, added that said travel to a number of Covid-affected countries, directly or via another nation, is still banned without prior permission.

The countries are India, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela and Belarus.

"Umrah and Hajj"

The lifting of ban on international travel means pilgrims from around the world will now be able to perform Umrah, and even Hajj if permitted.

Saudi Arabia had earlier said it is considering to allow foreign pilgrims for Haj this year though it will be on smaller scale.

However, since India is still in the list of countries which are barred from travelling to Saudi Arabia, pilgrims from here will have to wait for some more time before they are able to visit Makkah - the holiest city for Muslims.


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