Saudi Arabia has recently introduced a new series of measures as it continues to work to minimize the impact of coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, in the Kingdom. The new travel restrictions are far reaching, and will impact citizens, residents, and those who regularly commute to Saudi Arabia for work.
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Travel to the Kingdom is extremely limited right now, with restrictions even including those on Saudi citizens and residents. On Monday night, citizens and residents were given 72 hours to return from Bahrain and the UAE. Many flights from the UAE and Bahrain to Saudi Arabia were canceled beginning early Monday and remain canceled today.
Though most flights from the UAE have been canceled, two Saudia airlines flights departed Dubai last night, one to Jeddah and one to Riyadh. Today, the UAE continues to send Saudi citizens home, Abdulhadi Muhammad Al Shafi, consul general of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Dubai told Al Arabiya. There are 3,000 Saudis registered at the consulate in the UAE. Those returning to Saudi Arabia were not screened by the consulate before traveling but were checked at the airport, and no cases have been recorded as of now.
Business visa holders outside the country currently will not be able to enter the Kingdom from the 14 countries under Saudi Arabia’s current travel ban. Those with business visas in a country not on the list will likely still be able to enter the Kingdom if they did not spend time in a country on the list within the last 14 days. For example, if a person traveled through the UAE within the last two weeks and attempted to enter the Kingdom via a third country, their entry may be denied. A travel agent told Al Arabiya English that those entering the Kingdom may be asked to self-quarantine and be subjected to airport health screenings.
Al Arabiya English confirmed that some business visa holders were allowed to exit the country on Tuesday. Commuters wishing to return to the GCC from Saudi Arabia can come via a third country where flights are still operational between Saudi Arabia.