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Saudi extends border closures, travel ban for citizens until May

Saudi extends border closures, travel ban for citizens until May

The extension from the scheduled date of March 31 is due to vaccine delivery delays, officials said

SAUDI-HEALTH-VIRUS-TRAVEL

Saudi Arabia has announced that its travel ban for citizens and the closure of its borders will remain in place until May 17, 2021.

An official source at the Ministry of Interior said that the extension in the ban until 1am on Monday, May 17, was due to delays in the delivery of Covid-19 vaccines, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) announced.

The kingdom had announced on January 8 that it resume all international flights and reopen its land, sea, and air borders for travel on March 31, after suspending flights in December due to the emergence of the new virus strain.

“Based on the statement from the Minister of Health that the Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers were late in delivering contracted batches on the specific times and due to the importance of reaching high community immunity rates in the kingdom before allowing travel [the decision to extend the ban was taken],” the SPA report said.

The source also said Saudi was taking the step in order to maintain low infection rates in the kingdom even as many countries were witnessing the second wave of the pandemic.

The Ministry of Interior will follow up with the Ministry of Health to keep pace with all the relevant developments, it added.

Meanwhile the kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports confirmed that citizens in designated categories can travel abroad. However, they will only be provided a permit to one requested destination and must travel within 30 days of being issued a travel permit.

The kingdom has been seeing a rise in the number of new daily Covid-19 cases in recent weeks.

It reported 270 new cases on Saturday, raising the overall figure to 367,813 since the pandemic began.

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