Flights to Saudi Arabia resume as Kingdom ends temporary travel ban

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has lifted the temporary travel ban imposed last December as a precautionary measure following the detection of a mutated type of Covid-19 in a number of countries, the Ministry of Interior said early Sunday.

Entry into the Kingdom by air, land and sea will resume at 11 a.m. Sunday, the ministry said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Some restrictions including asking non-Saudis coming from the UK, South Africa, and other countries where the Covid-19 variant had been detected, to stay at least 14 days out of these countries before entering the Kingdom.

Saudi citizens who are allowed to enter for humanitarian and essential cases, coming from countries where the new Covid-19 variant spread, are required to remain in their homes for 14 days for observation.

Cases of the new variant, which was first detected in the UK, have been reported in European countries including France, Sweden and Spain. It has also been detected in South Africa, Jordan, Canada and Japan.

Saudi Arabia has started rolling out vaccines against COVID-19, starting with those considered high risk.

The Kingdom has also seen a steady decline in the number of new cases and deaths from the pandemic.

On Saturday, the Ministry of Health recorded only 101 new cases, the lowest number in nine months, with two regions reporting zero cases.

A total of 362,488 people have contracted the disease in the Kingdom since Covid-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Of the total number of cases, 2,772 remain active and 401 in critical condition.

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The total number of deaths as of January 1 is 6,230