| 28 September 2022, Wednesday |

Saudi Arabia: Umrah Performers Must Present Negative PCR Test

The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah updated the procedures for entering Saudi Arabia for Umrah performers and visitors to ensure their health and safety.

The Ministry explained that based on reports of the competent authorities regarding the measures taken by the Kingdom to counter the coronavirus and its variants, Umrah performers must present a negative certificate for an approved (PCR) test or an examination for the rapid antigens of the COVID-19 Antigen Test of a sample taken within 48 hours of departure to the Kingdom.

The new measure applies to all, “regardless of their vaccination status, starting next Wednesday,” the Ministry said.

Furthermore, all Saudi citizens must take a coronavirus vaccine booster dose to travel outside the Kingdom, starting from February 9.

The Interior Ministry said that all passengers arriving at the Kingdom, including residents and citizens, must also have taken the booster shot.

The Ministry issued a statement explaining that the new measures come as per the constant follow-up to the epidemiological situation locally and globally and any epidemiological risks.

It is also based on the recommendations of the competent authorities regarding the measures taken by the Kingdom to counter the pandemic and preserve public health.

Saudi Arabia completed implementing the same procedures inside the Kingdom when it announced that booster shot is crucial for citizens and residents to enter public places.

A third jab is required to be considered “immune” in the country’s contact-tracing Tawakkalna application.

Meanwhile, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) issued a circular to all airlines operating at Saudi airports, including private aviation, concerning updating travel procedures to and from the Kingdom.

The circular stipulates that citizens departing the Kingdom must receive the third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for those who have spent three months from the time of receiving the second dose, except the age groups who are under 16, or from the exempted categories, according to Tawakkalna.

GACA clarified that it must be ensured that all arrivals to the Kingdom, including citizens, regardless of their immunization status, hold a negative certificate for an approved (PCR) examination or for an approved rapid antigen test for the coronavirus for a sample taken within 48 hours from the time of departure to the Kingdom, except those under 18.

The Authority indicated that citizens whose test results show their infection with the coronavirus are allowed to come to the Kingdom after the period below has passed – without the need for a re-examination: seven days from taking the positive sample for those who received the approved vaccines in the Kingdom, and ten days from taking the positive sample for those who did not receive the approved vaccines.

The Authority indicated that these new requirements would enter into effect Wednesday, February 9, 2022.

Saudi Arabia has administered over 58,672,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine through more than 587 vaccination centers in all regions.

The number of those who received a single dose reached more than 25,674,000 people, while those who received the two doses reached over 23,817,000 people, and more than 9,000,000 individuals have received the booster shot.

For its part, the Ministry of Health announced 3,747 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total number of people who have contracted the virus to 712,644 persons, while 1,090 cases remain in critical condition.

The Ministry indicated that 4,083 patients have recovered, bringing the total recoveries in the Kingdom to 670,780.

It confirmed three coronavirus-related deaths, raising the total of fatalities to 8,957.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat