Saudi Arabia has banned citizens from travelling to 16 countries due to Covid-19 cases in those countries following the rapid surge in the number of daily infections over the past few weeks.
The General Directorate of Passports said that the list of countries included India, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, and Venezuela.Saudi authorities said that the ban was implemented after it observed a consistent increase in the number of daily Covid-19 cases in the previous weeks.
The wave of spikes in COVID-19 cases returned to the fore again in Saudi Arabia, where medical authorities recorded 621 new cases of COVID-19 on May 17.
General Directorate of Passports of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that apart from these 16 countries, Saudi nationals who wish to travel to non-Arab nations must have a passport valid for more than six months. It further added that for the journey to Arab countries, the passport should have a validity of at least three months, according to Saudi Gazette. It also announced that citizens travelling to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries must have a national ID card that is valid for at least three months. For travel, the original ID card and family registry are mandated.
General Directorate of Passports also stressed that Saudis travelling outside the Kingdom must be inoculated with three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Children aged 16 and 12 must receive two doses of the vaccination. Exemptions will be granted to those groups who have been granted an exception for medical reasons.
Further, the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has assured the public that zero monkeypox cases have been detected in the country. Abdullah Asiri, Deputy Minister of Health for preventive health has said that the Kingdom has the capability to monitor and discover any suspected monkeypox cases and also to fight against the infection if any new case emerges.
"Until now, cases of transmission between humans are very limited, and therefore the possibility of any outbreaks occurring from it, even in countries that have detected cases, are very low," he added.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 80 cases of monkeypox in 11 countries and said they are working to better understand the extent and cause of the outbreak.