RIYADH: The Saudis have welcomed the Interior Ministry announcement that it allows vaccinated people and those cured of coronavirus (COVID-19) to travel abroad from May 17th.
Following the announcement, the ministry warned Saudis to exercise caution and follow instructions when traveling.
The ministry on Sunday said citizens who are fully vaccinated or have received the first dose at least 14 days before departure will be allowed to travel. Based on the health information provided in the Tawakkalna app, infected citizens must have recovered at least six months before the trip.
Children between the ages of eight and 18 are exempt from the vaccination rule, but must submit travel insurance from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) that will provide COVID-19 medical care.
The lifting of the ban is a welcome move and will help the tourism industry and travel agencies across the Kingdom.
Dr. Osama Ghanem Al-Obaidy, Academic
This is a refreshing, dynamic and optimistic decision. Finally, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, it all depends on whether people follow government instructions, wear masks and do not interfere too much in social gatherings, Mona Salahuddin Al-Munajjed, a writer and social affairs adviser, told Arab News.
She added that the decision proves that the government trusts its people, who at the same time must meet all the requirements, because the risk of the virus will affect us from beyond the borders of Saudi Arabia.
Europe, the US, India and many other countries have been hit hard by the coronavirus, she warned.
Al-Munajjed hailed the government’s efforts to tackle the pandemic through timely measures to contain the spread, including vaccinating some 10 million people, which it hailed as an excellent step.
Dr. Osama Ghanem Al-Obaidy, an advisor and law professor at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh, told Arab News that lifting the travel ban would be a great relief for citizens, especially those who are frequent travelers abroad. .
However, the demand for vaccination will lead to many people rushing to get their strokes, he added.
I believe he should not travel abroad unless there is an urgent need for business or family reasons, especially in countries suffering badly from the pandemic.
Talat Zaki Hafiz, Financial Analyst
Al-Obaidy said this will have a positive impact on the Saudi economy, as well as regional and international economies, as Saudi tourists and travelers are known for high spending, which will help destination countries.
The lifting of the ban is a welcome move and will help the tourism industry and travel agencies across the Kingdom, as well as airlines operating to and from the Kingdom that have suffered heavy losses due to the travel ban, he said, added: This will also increase the profits of travel agencies and insurance companies offering SAMA approved travel insurance.
According to the professor, travel agencies are already experiencing a huge increase in demand for airline tickets and hotel reservations at destinations preferred by Saudi travelers. Saudi agencies are also offering various offers for international travel and accommodation in many foreign destinations.
The decision proves that the government trusts its people, who must meet all the requirements at the same time.
Mona Salahuddin Al-Munajjed, Writer
He added that the demand for foreign travel is expected to increase, especially with the summer holidays approaching.
Financial analyst Talat Zaki Hafiz told Arab News: Despite the fact that the government is lifting the travel ban, I believe it should not travel abroad unless there is an urgent need for business or family reasons, especially in countries suffering badly from the pandemic.
Unnecessary travel to badly affected places can expose travelers to the infection and mean they cannot receive proper medical care, Hafiz added.
Let us not all forget that the Saudi government offers free treatment to all people with COVID-19 regardless of nationality, which may not be available in some other countries, he said.
While Hafiz praises governments’ decision to lift the ban, he believes people should use it wisely as security comes first.
Dr. Majed Al-Hedayan, a senior legal expert, told Arab News that many people are choosing to get the vaccine now that it has become a prerequisite for travel.
Tourism destinations are not the same as they were before the pandemic. Therefore, I advise everyone not to risk just traveling, except in cases that require performing duties or medical treatment, he said.
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