RIYADH: Saudi authorities are banning travel, without prior permission, to and from the UAE, Ethiopia and Vietnam, over concerns about the spread of more-infectious variants of the coronavirus, the Ministry of Interior announced early on Saturday.
Flights to and from the three countries will be suspended on Sunday, July 4, at 11 p.m., the ministry said. Anyone who arrives in the Kingdom after this date will be required to undergo institutional quarantine, whether or not they are a Saudi citizen. In keeping with the current rules, Saudi citizens who return before then will not. Entry from Afghanistan has also been suspended.
The restrictions do not apply to foreigners who have visited any of the countries but left them, or any other country on which the Kingdom has imposed a travel ban, at least 14 days before arriving in Saudi Arabia.
Saudis were given permission to travel to certain countries outside the Kingdom from May 17, provided they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or recovered after catching the virus. Those who have received only the first dose of a vaccine are required to wait 14 days before traveling. Those who have recovered from infection must wait six months after testing negative before flying.
In January, Saudi Arabia set March 31 as the date on which the suspension of international flights would be lifted, but this was pushed back to allow more people to be vaccinated.
Health authorities in the Kingdom reported 1,338 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 16 additional deaths.