Saudi Arabia will ban its citizens from traveling abroad for 3 years if they break COVID-19 travel rules, the Ministry of Interior announced on Tuesday.
There have been reports of citizens traveling to prohibited countries, according to the Saudi Press Agency, which led authorities to impose a travel ban for 3 years in addition to hefty fines.
The ministry also clarified that the travel ban remains in place for countries with uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreaks and includes direct travel or transits via other countries.
Authorities also warned all travelers to be cautious while traveling, regardless of their destination. People are urged to take extra precautions against the spread of the virus and to avoid unstable areas.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia announced it was barring its citizens from direct or indirect travel to the UAE, Ethiopia, and Vietnam without obtaining prior permission, according to a statement from the Kingdom’s interior ministry.
Travel is also banned to or transit at a number of other countries including Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
Authorities had also announced that starting on August 9, citizens will need two COVID-19 vaccine doses before they can travel outside the Saudi Arabia.
The decision was made based on new waves of infection globally, new mutations, and the “low efficacy of one vaccination dose against these mutations,” a ministry statement said.
As of July 27, a total of 520,774 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Saudi Arabia while 501,449 people recovered. The death toll has reached 8,189.