RIYADH: Vaccinated Saudis and those who have recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to travel abroad as of 1 a.m. from May 17, the Saudi Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced in a statement.
The MoI said that citizens who are fully vaccinated or have received a first dose at least 14 days before departure will be allowed to travel. Based on the health information provided on the Tawakkalna app, citizens who have been infected must have recovered at least 6 months prior to travel.
Children between the ages of 8 and 18 are exempt from the vaccination rule but must present travel insurance from the Saudi Central Bank that will ensure COVID-19 medical care; they must spend seven days in quarantine upon their return to the Kingdom and conduct a PCR test at the end of that time. Children under 8 are exempt from the test, according to MoH guidelines.
In its Sunday press conference the Ministry of Health (MoH) urged anyone experiencing intense post-vaccination symptoms to visit a Tetamman clinic, appointments for which can be made via the designated app for anything related to the coronavirus, Sehhaty.
MoH spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Al-Abd Al-Aly told residents to monitor themselves carefully post-vaccination, and urged them to seek medical care if they were experiencing COVID-like symptoms following their vaccination, especially if those symptoms lasted longer than three days.
He also said that citizens above the age of 75 could visit any vaccination center without an appointment, that there was no need to take a PCR test before going to get vaccinated, and that being vaccinated would not have any effect on the results of a PCR test.
“The Kingdom has also not recorded any deaths related to the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.
With the number of daily COVID cases back in the three-digit range, the Ministry is also urging Saudis to continue to be cautious about their activities, to mask up and avoid gatherings, and follow all the necessary safety guidelines to help to curb the spread of the virus ahead of the upcoming Eid celebrations.
“We are still in a period of fluctuation and need to continue to follow COVID guidelines,” said Al-Aly. “The coming few days are crucial, especially with the Eid holidays around the corner. Let us ensure that these times of celebration don’t turn into times of sadness.”
The Ministry of Health announced 937 new COVID cases on Sunday, 1,120 new recoveries, and 11 new deaths. This brings the total numbers up to 419,348 cases, 402,664 recoveries, and 6,979 deaths.
Riyadh continues to report the highest number of new cases, with 381 today. This was followed by Makkah with 225, and the Eastern Province with 110. The regions reporting the lowest numbers were the Northern Borders with 10 cases following by Baha with 8 and Jouf with only 2 cases.
The number of active cases has decreased to 9,705, of which 1,351 are in critical condition. The Kingdom’s recovery rate has also increased marginally, currently standing at 96 percent.
The Kingdom’s total vaccine count has surpassed the 9.6 million mark, which means that the Kingdom is vaccinating at rate of about 2.19 per second or 188,968 each day.