Saudi Arabia eases travel ban for vaccinated citizens
Vaccinated Saudis were allowed to leave the kingdom for the first time in more than a year on Monday as the country eased a ban on international travel aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus and its new variants.
For the past 14 months, Saudi citizens have mostly been banned from travelling abroad out of concerns that international travel could fuel the outbreak of the virus within the country of more than 30 million people. The ban, in place since March 2020, has affected Saudi students who were studying abroad, among others.
In recent months, however, the kingdom has vaccinated close to 11.5 million residents with at least one jab of the COVID-19 vaccine, making them eligible to depart the country on Monday under the new guidelines. Authorities will also allow people who have recently recovered from the virus and minors under 18 years of age with travel insurance to travel abroad.
The easing of rules prompted a rush of holidaymakers to exit the kingdom, following the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.
“It’s a beautiful feeling after such a long absence from Bahrain,” said Mohammed, a Saudi travelling to the island nation.
(c) Al Jazeera