Saudi Arabia will lift its coronavirus restrictions across the country on June 21 – the latest effort by the Kingdom to return to “normalcy,” the Interior Ministry announced on Saturday.
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All economic and commercial activities will be allowed to resume given they adhere to precautionary measures, the ministry added.
International travel will be suspended until further notice, the ministry said, adding that land and sea borders will also remain closed.
However, the decision to resume flights outside Saudi Arabia is currently being reviewed by special committees, the spokesman for the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) said on Wednesday.
Entry into the country for Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca or for tourism will continue to be halted, the interior ministry said.
Social distancing measures must be enforced, and gatherings of no more than 50 people are strictly prohibited, the ministry added.
Individuals must also wear a mask at all times when they are out in public.
Those who violate any of the preventative measures will be penalized, according to the ministry.
Mosques in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca have been preparing to reopen their doors on June 21 after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to halt prayers for three months, state television channel al-Ekhbariya reported on Friday.
Return to normalcy
The lifting of restrictions does not mean that the pandemic is over, health ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Abd al-Ali said on Thursday.
“The virus is still there, the virus is active, the pandemic is still there, and there is still no vaccine. Research is ongoing, and we are hopeful. Treatment protocols are constantly being updated,” he said.
“A return to normalcy is now possible, but must be done with caution,” al-Abd al-Ali added.
Earlier this month, the health ministry spokesman had said that the number of active coronavirus cases and the virus-related death toll in Saudi Arabia is rising because several members of the public continue to ignore preventative measures.
He urged citizens and residents to continue to adhere to precautionary measures.
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