Saudi Arabia Bans Citizens From Flying To 16 Countries, including Somalia


In response to gradually increasing COVID-19 cases, Saudi Arabia has banned citizens from traveling to 16 countries across Asia, Africa, and South America.

As reported by The Gulf News, the countries named on the list are India, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, and Venezuela.

On Saturday, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced 414 new infections of COVID, with the weekly figures seeing a five-fold increase compared to those seen through March and April. Around 81 cases were critical, with covid-related death reported.

The inclusion of fifteen countries on the list seems a confusing decision, with only DRC having reported an increase in COVID cases.

Saudi’s General Directorate of Passports has also noted that citizens intending to travel outside the kingdom must have received three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with children between 12 and 16 only requiring two. Exemptions remain in place for those that have received a vaccine waiver based on medical grounds.

No announcement has been made regarding how long the measures will be enforced, and it appears no new restrictions have been implemented for incoming passengers.

Concerns have been raised in the country regarding reports of monkeypox worldwide; though it has not played a part in the recent flight bans. The health ministry has addressed the virus, assuring that infections have not been detected within the country.

“There is a standard definition of suspected cases and how to confirm them, and monitoring and diagnosis methods are available in the Kingdom’s laboratories,” noted Dr. Abdullah Asiri, Deputy Minister of Preventative Health.

According to World Health Organization data, around 80 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed across 11 countries.


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