Saudi Arabia is set to impose a three-year travel ban on citizens travelling to countries on the Kingdom’s “red list,’’ including Turkey, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates are some of the other countries on the Kingdom’s red list, to which travel or transit has been banned, according to the agency.
Any citizen who travels to countries on its red list will be in clear violation of the law, the agency cited an unnamed Interior Ministry official as saying.
“The Ministry of Interior stresses that citizens are still banned from travelling 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,” the official added.
The report arrives as Turkey-Saudi Arabia relations have warmed in recent months, following years of regional rivalry. Bilateral relations between Ankara and Riyadh have been particulary strained since the murder of the Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
The report on the measure arrives after a number of Saudi nationals, who in May had been allowed to travel abroad without prior permission from authorities for the first time since March 2020, violated the Kingdom’s travel regulations, the ministry official told SPA.
Saudi Arabia has reported 1,379 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths over the past 24 hours, according to data from the Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday, when the country’s death toll rose to 8,189.