New rules requiring people in Saudi Arabia to have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine before entering certain public places come into effect today, October 10.
Under the new regulations announced on October 1, anyone wishing to enter government buildings, schools, events, or use public transportation and air travel must have received both doses, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Anyone wishing to perform the Umrah pilgrimage must also have received two vaccine doses starting October 10.
Unvaccinated people have been banned from entering government facilities, using public transport, and attending events in the Kingdom since August 1.
The new rules specify that people must have received at least two vaccine doses before they are allowed to enter these areas.
More than 43 million doses of coronavirus vaccine have been administered to people in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health said on Thursday.
These doses were administered at 587 vaccination sites scattered across Saudi Arabia’s 2.2 million square kilometers, the ministry added.
Citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia can register their vaccine status using the contact-tracing Tawakkalna app, which can then be used to access public places.
The country has employed some of the strictest measures in the world to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in preventing people from accessing public places without proof of inoculation.
Officially-reported case numbers have fallen sharply in recent weeks.
On Saturday, only 35 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the preceeding 24 hours, as well as four virus-related deaths, compared to a peak of more than 4,400 daily cases in June 2020.
Saudi Arabia last month also signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) with COVID-19 vaccine makers Pfizer and AstraZeneca to promote investment in the Kingdom’s health sector.
The agreement with the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca included an agreement to establish clinical research centers in the country.
Booster shots will be given to over-60s, the Saudi Ministry of Health announced on September 27.
More than 68 percent of the population of capital Riyadh have been vaccinated so far, according to the Ministry of Health.
Saudi Arabia has also been exporting vaccine doses to less-developed countries including Tunisia, which was hard-hit by the pandemic.
The north African country received more than 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Saudi Arabia.
A total of 8,743 people have died from the COVID-19 virus in the Kingdom since the beginning of the pandemic.
The total number of COVID-19 cases detected has reached 547,532, while there have been 536,585 recoveries from the virus.