COVID-19: Saudi Arabia warns against travel to 12 countries without permission

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Saudi Arabia warned its citizens on Wednesday against traveling to 12 countries without obtaining permission from the relevant authorities as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus, the Ministry of Interior said on Twitter.

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“The ministry warns against traveling to a number of countries without obtaining prior permission from the concerned authorities, in light of the security conditions and instability prevailing in a number of countries, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), and the spread of a new mutated strain of the virus,” the tweet read.

The countries that Saudi Arabian citizens have been advised against visiting are: Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Somalia, Belarus, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Venezuela.

Saudi Arabia last week announced that it will be lifting travel restrictions and resuming international flights starting on March 31 after a months-long ban due to the outbreak.

A Saudi passenger, wearing a protective face mask, arrives at terminal 5 in the King Fahad International Airport. (AFP)
A Saudi passenger, wearing a protective face mask, arrives at terminal 5 in the King Fahad International Airport. (AFP)

The ministry has also urged its citizens to refrain from traveling to countries where the coronavirus has not been contained, or that have reported cases of the new more infectious strain of the disease.

The United Kingdom and South Africa detected two mutated strains of coronavirus in December, and they quickly spread to other parts of the world. Up to 70 percent more transmissible than the previously dominant strain, countries across the globe are desperately trying to contain their spread.

Citizens who are in the high-risk countries should immediately register with the Saudi Arabian embassy, the interior ministry advised.

Saudi Arabians who wish to travel to permitted countries must make sure they follow all precautionary measures against the coronavirus disease and stay away from areas considered unsafe, the ministry added.

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