Saudi Arabia lifts entry ban from 11 countries, including Somalia

Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on the entry of passengers arriving from 11 countries which was initially imposed three months ago to curb the spread of new and more infectious variants of the Covid-19 virus.

From today travellers from the UAE, the US, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Japan will once again be allowed to enter the kingdom, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) announced, as these countries are all considered to have controlled the spread of the virus at home.

Saudi Arabia imposed entry restrictions on these 11 countries and seven more in early February in an effort to combat the spread of Covid-19.

But a ban on entry from at least 13 other countries where the Covid-19 situation is still deemed to be a concern, remains in place. These are Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Libya, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, and India.

This latest move comes just two weeks after Saudi Arabia reopened all air, sea and land ports and restarted international flights on 17 May for the first time in a year, providing a much-needed boost to domestic jet fuel demand.

State-owned Saudia airlines said recently that it will operate 153 scheduled flights a week from the capital Riyadh and 178 flights from Jeddah in the west of the country. The airline said it will fly to 71 destinations, of which 28 are domestic and 43 are international.

An increase in international flights will support a recovery in Saudi Arabia’s jet fuel demand, which has been mostly reliant on domestic flights, which have been operating since the middle of last year. Jet fuel demand in March dropped by 60pc on the month to 21,000 b/d, the lowest monthly level since April 2020, according to the latest data from the from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (Jodi).