Saudi Arabia's temporary suspension of entry from 20 countries has officially come into effect from 9:00 pm local time, a move announced a day earlier in a bid to curb a jump in coronavirus infections.
The interior ministry confirmed that the travel ban decision would be effective from 9:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Wednesday, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
The ban includes a list of 20 countries: Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, the United States of America, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India, and Japan.
Catch up: #SaudiArabia will be suspending entry from 20 countries, ranging from some neighboring states to the United States, starting 9 pm local time until further notice in a bid to curb a jump in #coronavirus infections.https://t.co/bxpGhuv7KM— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) February 3, 2021
The temporary travel ban into the Kingdom will also include those travelers coming from other countries if they passed through any of the 20 banned countries 14 days preceding the implementation of the ban, the interior ministry added.
"The source added that the citizens, diplomats, health practitioners and their families coming from the aforementioned countries or those who transited any of those countries during the 14 days preceding their return to the Kingdom will enter the Kingdom in accordance with the precautionary measures imposed by the Ministry of Health," the Saudi Press Agency quoted an interior ministry source as saying.
Saudi Arabia on Wednesday reported 306 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 368,945 cases, according to the Ministry of Health. The death toll rose by three to 6,386.
The announcement comes after Saudi Arabia's health minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah warned on Sunday that new coronavirus restrictions could be imposed if citizens and residents do not comply with health restrictions.
Saudi Arabia launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign on December 17 after receiving the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The health ministry said the program would roll out in three phases, starting with people over 65 and those with chronic ailments, or who are at high risk of infection.
But last month the ministry said it was forced to slow the rollout due to a delay in vaccine deliveries.