Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia has repatriated over 47,500 citizens, says spokesperson

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Saudi Arabia has repatriated more than 47,500 of its citizens on 250 flights from 51 destinations during the coronavirus pandemic, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Ahmed al-Tuwayyan in a press conference on Tuesday.

The Kingdom has been flying its citizens back from across the world since countries began to close borders and limit international travel in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Coronavirus: Air Arabia announces repatriation flights from UAE to Egypt June 11-16

A further 19,000 citizens were expected to arrive by the end of June, said al-Tuwayyan. They would be brought home on four to five daily flights, which are operating at 60 percent seat occupancy.

The spokesperson also said that the delay in return for some citizens was due to technical problems in host countries, including the issuing of permits, but that the embassy was working with host countries to facilitate their return.

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Saudi Arabia has also been facilitating the return of non-Saudi residents in the Kingdom to their home countries.

On April 23, the Kingdom launched the “Awdah” (return) initiative that allows residents with valid visas to be repatriated. Residents who want to return home can submit an application via the online platform “Absher.”

According to al-Tuwayyan, 85,107 citizens had “sought to benefit from” the Awdah initiative.

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