Saudi Arabia has threatened to ban its own citizens from travelling abroad for three years if they visit one of 13 ‘Red List’ countries that are said to have high COVID-19 infection rates and variants of concern.
State news agency SPA said on Tuesday that the measures were being introduced to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia bans travel to and transit through Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates.
The decision to ban travel to and from the UAE came at a time of frayed tensions between the two Gulf allies and some commentators believe the decision was more political than based on health advice.
A government source told SPA that citizens who had travelled abroad without first seeking permission from authorities would face tough penalties.
“Anyone who is proven to be involved will be subject to legal accountability and heavy penalties upon their return, and will be banned from travel for three years,” the source said in comments reported in English by Reuters.
Saudi Arabia has had one of the toughest policies in the world towards international travel during the pandemic and barred its citizens from going abroad for many months at the outset of the pandemic.
From August 9, citizens seeking to go abroad will need to be fully vaccinated to leave the country. Kuwait announced a similar policy on Tuesday.
Photo: Karol Ciesluk / Shutterstock.com
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.
Also, it is clear that everyone who refuses a vaccine must be jailed until they agree to get it.
Plus a fine, and then banned from travel for life.