Saudi Arabia lifts travel restrictions to Ethiopia, India, Turkey and Vietnam

The decision comes only weeks before the beginning of the Hajj season, the Muslim pilgrimage to Makkah.…

Saudi Arabia has ended a ban on travel to Ethiopia, India, Turkey and Vietnam, the state news agency SPA reported.

The decision is based on the follow-up to the Covid-19 pandemic and the health authorities’ reports on the global epidemiological situation.

The move comes a week after the Kingdom dropped some precautionary Covid-19 measures, including wearing face masks indoors and providing proof of vaccination to enter most public places.

However, masks are still required to be worn in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, places regulated by the Saudi Public Health Authority Weqaya, and places and events that impose their own mask mandates.

The vaccination timeframe for those who want to travel abroad has also been extended.

Travellers were previously required to have received their Covid-19 booster dose within three months of the second vaccination, but that timeframe has now been extended to eight months.

Coronavirus restrictions in the Kingdom were loosened earlier this year, in March, when outdoor mask mandates, social distancing measures, PCR tests for inbound travellers, and quarantine-on-arrival rules were dropped.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia also lifted the direct and indirect ban on Saudi citizens from travelling to Indonesia.

Despite the relaxation of Covid-19 measures, Covid-19 cases in the Kingdom fluctuated between the 700-mark and 1,000 during the past weeks. However, as of today (Monday June 20), single-day coronavirus cases surged past the 1,000-mark, with 1,232 new infections recorded over the past 24 hours, according to the Ministry of Health.

According to the General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat), the list of countries that are still under Saudi Arabia’s travel ban includes Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Venezuela, and Yemen.