| 24 May 2024, Friday |

Gulf Countries Welcome Eid al-Fitr by Easing Covid Restrictions

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues for the second year, some Gulf countries have relaxed their precautionary measures, while others tightened control to prevent gatherings on the Eid al-Fitr holiday and limit the spread of the virus. Saudi Arabia declared Thursday as the first day of Eid.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has decided to hold Eid prayers in all regions of the Kingdom and announced the lifting of travel restrictions and the complete re-opening of the land, sea and air ports, starting Monday, May 17.

Under the new measures, citizens who have received two doses or a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine at least two weeks prior will be allowed to travel. Those who have recovered from the virus in the last six months are also permitted to take international flights, as are those under the age of 18.

Travelers must provide proof of their vaccine or previous coronavirus infection using the government’s Tawakkalna app. Travelers returning from abroad must also commit to home quarantine for seven days and take a COVID-19 test at the end of that week.


The Sultanate of Oman has decided to impose a total curfew from 7pm till 4am, as of May 8, which was the 26th day of Ramadan, until May 15.

It also banned all commercial activities throughout the day except for food stores, gas stations, health institutions and pharmacies, while home delivery services for all goods are permitted during the aforementioned period. The Supreme Committee had also decided not to hold Eid prayers and traditional Eid markets and to prevent gatherings of all kinds in various locations, including beaches and public parks, during the holiday.


More than two months after the implementation of the partial lockdown in Kuwait, the country announced it was relaxing the measures starting from the first day of Eid. It also decided to suspend flights with Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, except for cargo flights.


The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority in the UAE announced five precautionary measures during Eid. They include avoiding family visits and gatherings, wearing masks and adhering to social distancing while sitting with the elderly and those with chronic diseases, in addition to refraining from exchanging gifts and food and replacing gift vouchers with electronic alternatives.


Qatar decided to gradually lift the Covid-19 restrictions that were imposed in March in four stages, the first of which starts on May 28. The first phase will allow a maximum of five people who have received the vaccine to gather in a closed place. Mosques will reopen for daily prayers with some restrictions.


Starting from the first day of Eid, Bahrain will allow indoor dining for citizens, residents and visitors who were vaccinated and recovered from Covid-19, provided that evidence of their vaccination is available on the BeAware application or any other official application approved by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Moreover, vaccinated GCC visitors arriving in Bahrain will be exempted from PCR tests, and will no longer be required to undergo precautionary quarantine.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat