Saudi Arabia’s state news agency, SPA, announced that the Kingdom would impose a three-year travel ban on its nationals who take a trip to countries that are on the “red list.” The decision reportedly came as part of efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 and its novel forms.
In the report, attributed to an unnamed Interior Ministry official, SPA stated that some Saudi nationals had breached travel restrictions after being permitted to go abroad in May without obtaining prior approval from authorities for the first time since March 2020.
Speaking to the state news agency, the ministry official said, “The Ministry of Interior stresses that citizens are still banned from traveling directly or via another country to these states or any other that has yet to control the pandemic or where the new strains have spread.”
Stressing that anyone found to have traveled to those countries would face legal consequences, including severe penalties upon their return, the official added that a three-year travel ban would be imposed on these individuals.
The Kingdom’s red list covers several such as Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia detected 1.379 new COVID-19 related cases on Tuesday. The total number of cases has reached 520.774, while 8.189 COVID-19 related deaths were recorded so far.
On the other hand, the decision coincided with disagreements between Saudi Arabia and the UAE over some regional issues that have surfaced. Upon the escalating tension, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed paid a visit to Saudi Arabia last week, where he met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Some analysts are of the opinion that the consequences of the meeting were not fruitful.