Health officials in Saudi Arabia have extended a series of domestic restrictions through at least March 6 as part of ongoing efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Entertainment venues and leisure and fitness facilities will remain closed and restaurants will not be allowed to offer dine-in services for the duration of the restrictions. Gatherings, such as weddings and corporate events, are also banned; social gatherings are limited to 20 people only. Establishments that remain open must implement enhanced sanitization procedures, perform temperature checks of employees and patrons, and comply with social distancing guidelines. Additionally, shopping malls and sports centers will remain shut down.
Previously, authorities suspended entry to Saudi Arabia for travelers from 20 countries beginning 2100 Feb. 3. The banned countries are as follows: Argentina, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Germany, the US, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, the UK, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India, and Japan. The entry ban also applies to travelers who transited through any of the 20 countries in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the kingdom. Only diplomats, Saudi citizens, and medical practitioners, and their families are exempt from the measure. Authorities did not specify how long the ban would remain in effect.
Only non-Saudis who hold valid exit and entry, work, or residency visas are currently permitted to enter Saudi Arabia; travelers with tourist visas are barred from entry. Authorities are requiring all non-Saudis, except for children aged eight and under, to present a negative COVID-19 test to travel to Saudi Arabia. The COVID-19 test must have been administered within no more than 72 hours prior to departing for the kingdom; travelers who do not provide the requisite negative test result will be barred from boarding their flight. Travelers are required to complete a health disclaimer form and download and register on the Tatamman and Tawakkalna applications prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia. All arrivals are subject to a maximum of seven days’ home quarantine; however, the quarantine period may be reduced to three days upon the completion of an additional COVID-19 test.
A ban on international travel for Saudi citizens and the closure of the kingdom’s land, sea, and air borders remains in effect until May 17.
Authorities could reintroduce restrictions if there is a significant increase in COVID-19 cases; associated protocols could be ambiguous and occasionally contradictory.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all business appointments and travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
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