King Salman receives dignitaries in Riyadh

King Salman received scholars and senior citizens on Monday. Saudi Arabia is seeking to create a culture of tolerance in the country. (SPA)
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Updated 21 January 2020

King Salman receives dignitaries in Riyadh

  • Saudi Arabia seeks to create a culture of tolerance in order to fight extremism and bring about international security and peace

RIYADH: King Salman received on Monday princes, the country’s grand mufti, scholars and citizens who came to greet him.
The Saudi leadership is working to bridge communication gaps between the government and citizens.
In recent years, the Kingdom has encouraged government officials to improve the quality of their services and to meet the needs of every citizen.
Saudi Arabia also seeks to create a culture of tolerance in order to fight extremism and bring about international security and peace.
In addition, the Kingdom aims to meet high standards of transparency and accountability in the country.


Saudi Arabia stops issuing visas to tourists from countries worst hit by coronavirus

Updated 18 min 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia stops issuing visas to tourists from countries worst hit by coronavirus

  • Tourist visas will still be available electronically or upon arrival to citizens of other qualifying countries

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism announced on Friday that it has temporarily stopped issuing tourist visas to people in certain countries particularly badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The affected nations are China, Italy, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Kazakhstan. The decision applies both to electronic visas obtained online and traditional visas issued upon arrival. In addition, tourist visas previously issued to residents of the listed countries will be temporarily suspended.

Tourist visas will still be available electronically or upon arrival to citizens of other qualifying countries, but as a precaution they will not be allowed to visit Makkah or Madinah.

People in countries that are not eligible for electronic visas can check whether they can travel to the Kingdom by calling a helpline on 0096 692 000 0890. Residents of the US, the UK and Schengen nations can call the same number to check whether they can obtain a tourist visa.

The Ministry of Tourism said that the restrictions were designed to protect citizens, residents and tourists, in line with recommendations from health authorities.

“These procedures are temporary and are subject to continuous evaluation by the competent authorities,” a spokesman for the ministry said.

The latest restrictions come a day after Saudi authorities announced temporary bans on Umrah pilgrims and visits to the Prophet’s Mosque. They also said that holders of tourist visas from the countries worst affected by the virus would be refused entry to the country.

Also on Thursday, the Saudi health ministry said there are still “no known cases” of the coronavirus in the Kingdom.