FILE PHOTO: A security man looks at a screen showing the body temperature of travellers, at Riyadh International Airport, after Saudi Arabia reopened domestic flights, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 31, 2020. REUTERS
Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday that foreign visitors arriving by air from most countries will no longer need to quarantine if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Visitors from 20 other countries - including the United States, India, Britain, Germany, France and the United Arab Emirates - remain banned from entering the kingdom, however, under measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The civil aviation authority (GACA) said that from May 20 non-Saudi visitors arriving in the kingdom from eligible countries by air who are fully vaccinated, or have had COVID-19 and recovered, will no longer have to spend seven days in government-approved hotels as long as they provide an official vaccination certificate upon arrival.
Currently, all travellers coming into the kingdom need to quarantine for a period of seven to 14 days depending on the countries where they are coming from, and provide negative PCR tests.
Under the new rules, anyone over the age of eight years old who is not vaccinated must quarantine on arrival in Saudi Arabia for seven days at their own expense as of May 20 and provide a negative PCR test on the sixth day of their arrival, GACA said.
They must also provide a valid health insurance policy to cover potential risks from COVID-19. They will also need to provide a negative PCR test taken no later than 72 hours before boarding their flight to the kingdom.
Separately, the Saudi ministry of interior announced that Saudi citizens are still banned from travelling to 13 countries through direct or indirect flights without prior permission form authorities due to COVID-19 risks.
The countries are: Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Belarus, and India.
In February, the kingdom suspended entry from 20 countries, with the exception of diplomats, Saudi citizens, medical practitioners and their families, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.