COVID-19: After the increase in contagions, Saudi Arabia bans entry from 20 countries
On Tuesday, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced its decision to suspend the entry in its territories from 20 countries, except diplomats, Saudi citizens, medical staff, and their families, to help curb the COVID-19 spread.According to the official Saudi Press Agency, the Interior Ministry announced the “temporary suspension” would be effective starting from today 9:00 pm.
The ban applies to neighboring Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Lebanon, and Turkey. In Europe, the Kindom suspended the entry for travelers from the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland. Elsewhere, entry ban also from the US, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, and South Africa.
The ban also applies to travelers from other countries if they passed through any of the countries mentioned above within 14 days before demanding entry to Saudi Arabia. However, Riyadh would ensure uninterrupted supply chains and tracking movement between the kingdom and these nations following the anti-coronavirus precautionary rules defined by the Saudi Ministry of Health. “The entry of Saudi nationals, diplomats and health practitioners along with their families coming from any of the mentioned countries, or passed through within (14) days, is permissible, but they have to follow the precautionary measures and standard operating procedures adopted by the Saudi Ministry of Health.” A letter from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed to the concerned countries affirms.
The Saudi leadership decision to suspend entry from twenty Nations comes after the Health minister of Riyadh, Tawfiq al-Rabiah, warned on Sunday of new limitations if citizens and residents do not comply with anti-coronavirus precautionary rules.
From the beginning of the pandemic, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 368,639 COVID-19 confirmed cases and nearly 6,400 deaths, the highest figure among Arab states in its region.
Daily contagions dipped below 100 in early January, from a peak of nearly 5,000 in June 2020. However, new cases have tripled in the last month, with 310 cases reported by the health ministry in the past 24 hours only.Riyadh started its coronavirus vaccination campaign on Dec 17 after receiving the first purchase of the Pfizer-BioNTech anti-coronavirus vaccine.
The Health Ministry in Riyadh affirmed the program would roll out in three phases. The administration of the first doses started with priority category, including people over 65s, those with chronic ailments, and who are at high risk of contracting the virus.But last week, the ministry said it has been forced to slow the rollout due to a delay in vaccine deliveries from the pharmaceutical companies.