Saudi Arabia drops COVID-19 measures including indoor masks, vaccine requirement

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Saudi Arabia has dropped more COVID-19 measures, including indoor mask and proof of vaccination requirements for most places, the Ministry of Interior announced on Monday.

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However, people will still be required to wear masks in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, places regulated by the Saudi Public Health Authority (Weqaya), and places and events that impose their own mask mandates.

Proof of vaccination in the Tawakkalna contact-tracing application is no longer needed to enter various facilities, participate in activities, attend events, or board planes or public transportation, with some exceptions, according to the official Saudi Press Agency. SPA did not elaborate on which categories were exempt.

Also, the vaccination timeframe for Saudi Arabian citizens who want to travel abroad has been extended.

Travelers previously had to have received their third COVID-19 booster shot within three months of the second, but that timeframe has now been extended to eight months.

COVID-19 restrictions in the Kingdom were loosened in March when outdoor mask mandates were dropped.

Social distancing measures, PCR tests for inbound travelers, and quarantine-on-arrival rules were also dropped in March.

The latest updates to COVID-19 measures come as the world and the Kingdom see a spike in case numbers.

Daily new COVID-19 cases breached the 1,000 mark on Wednesday for the first time since February, reaching 1,029.

A total of 1,118 new cases and two virus-related deaths were recorded on Monday, according to the Ministry of Health.

The Kingdom has now recorded a total of 9,170 COVID-19-related deaths and 777,795 infections since the beginning of the pandemic.

It has rolled out a wide-reaching vaccination program, with enough doses to inoculate 96.1 percent of the population having been administered, according to Reuters data.

Case numbers in the neighboring United Arab Emirates have also spiked in recent weeks.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior on Monday stressed the importance of continuing efforts to combat the virus, including receiving booster doses of approved vaccines.

Read more:

Saudi Arabia, UAE COVID-19 cases spike as global numbers rise

UAE’s daily COVID-19 cases rise above 1,000, highest toll of new infections in months

Saudi Arabia drops most COVID-19 restrictions

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