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Updated 18 October 2021
The health authorities in Saudi Arabia have announced a new set of rules and guidelines starting 17 October. The rules have been implemented after a fourteen-month travel ban and restrictions on its citizens and travellers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read on to know more about the latest COVID rules and restrictions in the KSA.
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COVID-19 rules in Saudi Arabia
The KSA authorities have deduced a considerable decline in daily infections due to increased vaccination drives throughout the country. The decline in COVID-19 cases has led to a few relaxations in the rules implemented by the authorities.
The new guidelines will only apply to those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, many precautionary measures shall remain in place for people moving outdoors, including sanitizing, temperature checks and health status verification via the Tawakkalna app.
All establishments will be required to comply with the preventive measures and protocols taken by the government authorities to curb the spread of the virus, including wearing a mask and providing hand sanitizing on entry.
The government has now announced the relaxation of social distancing measures in some places, although it is still mandatory in areas where the Tawakkalna health status checks are not applied.
The lifting of social distancing rules is especially notable as it means pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina will more or less return to a state of normalcy.
- The two Holy Mosques in Mecca and Medina will operate at full capacity but with the compulsory wearing of face masks, which is mandatory for workers and visitors at all times.
- For Umrah or prayers at the Grand Mosque or the Rawda Sharif at the Prophet’s Mosque, appointments will continue to be issued via the Ministry of Health-approved apps Eatmarna and Tawakkalna.
Face masks are no longer mandatory at open and spacious public venues, but is still imposed at closed indoor areas or where the Tawakkalna health status checks are not applied.
Safety protocols for social gatherings
Relaxations for those who received two doses of the coronavirus vaccine include:
- Social distancing measures will no longer be mandatory at social gatherings or in public areas, including restaurants, cinemas, means of transportation etc.
- Wedding halls are also permitted to return at their total capacity.
Saudi Arabia had earlier suspended domestic flight services along with shutting down other activities while imposing a nationwide curfew. With the current decrease in COVID-19 cases, the country has opened up for domestic travel.
Only fully vaccinated (two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine) Saudi citizens may take domestic flights or travel abroad except the categories exempt from taking doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The exempted categories will still need to follow all the approved precautionary measures and protocols.
Saudi Arabia has resumed tourist visas for all vaccinated international travellers. However, travel to and from several destinations has been suspended.
Travel to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has lifted the travel suspension from its list of banned countries for fully vaccinated residents in Saudi Arabia. Other visitors travelling from one of the banned countries may still need to spend up to 14 days in a third country.
Travellers are requested to register their vaccination status on the Tatamman and Tawakkalna applications. They will also need to complete and sign a ‘health disclaimer form’ on arrival. Travellers may check further details about testing and quarantine on the VisitSaudi website.
Travel from Saudi Arabia
Most countries have relaxed entry rules and regulations for travellers from the Kingdom as most travel destinations are now open for travel for Saudi tourists. The Saudi health authorities have classified countries as low, moderate, high and very high risk to provide a safe passage for travellers from Saudi Arabia.
Currently, travel has been suspended for KSA Citizens to the following countries:
Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, India, Vietnam, Republic of Indonesia and any country where the pandemic remains unstable.
The official COVID-19 helpline number acts as a support centre for any queries regarding COVID-19. Citizens and residents can contact the helpline (937), where they will receive 24/7 prompt medical consultation on-call.