Saudi Arabia threatens citizens visiting’red list’ countries with a three-year travel ban as COVID cases rise

LONDON: As part of efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus and its new variants, Saudi Arabia will impose a three-year travel ban on citizens travelling to countries on the kingdom’s “red list.”

According to an unnamed Interior Ministry official, some Saudi citizens who were permitted to travel abroad without prior permission from authorities for the first time since March 2020 in May had violated travel regulations.

“Anyone found to be involved will face legal accountability and harsh penalties upon their return, as well as a three-year travel ban,” the official said.

Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates have all been barred from entering or transiting through Saudi Arabia.

“The Ministry of Interior emphasises that citizens are still prohibited from travelling directly or through another country to these states or any others that have yet to control the pandemic or where the new strains have spread,” the official said.

The kingdom, the largest Gulf state with a population of around 30 million people, reported 1,379 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases and deaths to 520,774 cases and 8,189 deaths.

It saw daily infections drop from a high of over 4,000 in June 2020 to less than 100 in early January.


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