Riyadh city skyline at night. Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia announced that its land, sea and air borders will be completely reopened starting from May 17. According to the procedure, “immunised” Saudi citizens will be able to leave and return to the kingdom.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Cairo: While airports and airlines in Saudi Arabia are gearing up for full resumption of international flights, Saudi citizens will not be able to travel to the Philippines.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia announced that its land, sea and air borders will be completely reopened starting from May 17. According to the procedure, “immunised” Saudi citizens will be able to leave and return to the kingdom.

But the Saudi embassy in Manila said that the Philippine authorities currently do not allow the arrival of foreigners for tourism in the country as part of anti-coronavirus measures.

“In reference to the decree issued by the [Saudi] Interior Ministry on lifting suspension of travel abroad, the embassy would like to notify honourable citizens that the Republic of the Philippines does not allow welcoming foreigners for tourism at present due to a health protocol adopted to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” the embassy said on Twitter.

According to the Saudi Interior Ministry’s announcement made Sunday, citizens to be permitted to travel abroad will include those who have already received two doses of the anti-virus vaccine, or those who have passed 14 days after receiving the first jab. Another category will be the Saudis who have recovered from COVID-19 with less than six months since their infection as illustrated by the health smartphone app Tawakkalna.

Citizens aged under 18 years will have to provide before travel an insurance policy approved by the Saudi Central Bank, covering COVID-19 risks and will have to go into domestic quarantine for seven days after return to the kingdom. They will have to do PCR testing at the end of the quarantine period. Children under the age of eight years are exempted from this test.

Last September, Saudi authorities announced partial lifting of the suspension of international travel, allowing certain categories of Saudi nationals and foreigners to travel abroad. They include government employees, the military, diplomats and their families as well as patients whose cases need medical treatment abroad.

However, the imminent full resumption of international flights will not entail 20 countries with which the kingdom suspended flights last February. Saudi citizens, diplomats, health workers and their families are exempted from the ban.



Originally Published Manila News-Intelligencer: 2021-05-04 21:40:07

Heart Castañeda

By Heart Castañeda

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