Saudi Arabia is putting sterner travel restrictions in place under efforts to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia will impose a three-year travel ban on citizens travelling to the countries on the so-called ‘red list’. The list includes India, Afghanistan, UAE, Vietnam, Pakistan, Turkey, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Indonesia.
The kingdom has banned travel or transit in these countries to avoid the spread of new Coronavirus variants.
State News Agency SPA cited an unnamed interior ministry official saying some Saudi citizens, who in May were allowed to travel abroad without prior permission from authorities for the first time since March 2020, had violated travel regulations.
“Anyone who is proven to be involved will be subject to legal accountability and heavy penalties upon their return and will be banned from travel for three years,” the official said.
“The Ministry of Interior stresses that citizens are still banned from travelling directly or via another country to these states or any other that has yet to control the pandemic or where the new strains have spread,” the official said.
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia recorded 1,379 new COVID-19 infections, bringing its total to 520,774 cases and 8,189 deaths. The infections had fallen from a peak above 4,000 in June 2020 to below the 100 marks in early January.
Nearly 4 million people of Indian origin live in the largest Gulf nation with over 30 million population.
The travel ban will affect thousands of Indians travelling or hoping to travel to and from India.