Saudi lifts travel curbs to 4 countries including India

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Saudi Arabia has lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions on its citizens, the Ministry of Interior announced on Monday…reports Asian Lite News



Travel curbs were lifted on the following destinations: Turkey, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and India, Al Arabiya reported.

The move comes a week after the Kingdom dropped some precautionary Covid-19 measures, including wearing face masks indoors and providing proof of vaccination in order to enter most public places.

Despite the relaxation of Covid-19 measures, the Ministry of Interior said last week that people will still be required to wear masks in the Grand Mosque in Mecca, places regulated by the Saudi Public Health Authority Weqaya, and places and events that impose their own mask mandates.

The vaccination time frame for Saudi Arabian citizens who want to travel abroad has also been extended, Al Arabiya reported.

Travelers were previously required to have received their third Covid booster dose within three months of the second, but that time frame has now been extended to eight months.

Coronavirus restrictions in the Kingdom were loosened earlier this year in March when outdoor mask mandates, social distancing measures, PCR tests for inbound travelers, and quarantine-on-arrival rules were dropped.

Meanwhile, first batch of Haj pilgrims from Indian state of Telangana left for the pilgrimage from Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad on Monday.

A total of 373 pilgrims left for Jeddah by a special flight of Saudi Airlines at 5.55 a.m., an official of Telangana State Haj Committee said.

Earlier, around midnight the buses carrying the pilgrims were flagged off by state home minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and State Haj Committee chairman Mohammed Saleem at Haj House in the city.

The pilgrims began their journey with enthusiasm amid chanting of ‘Talbiyah’, a special prayer invoked during the Haj. Emotional scenes were witnessed at Haj House as scores of relatives, friends and well-wishers bid adieu to the pilgrims.

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The first flight had 211 pilgrims from Hyderabad and the remaining were from seven other districts.

This is after a gap of two years that pilgrims from India are performing Haj. Saudi Arabia had not allowed pilgrims from other countries in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic.

About 80,000 Indian pilgrims will be performing Haj this year. The Haj quota this year has been reduced in view of Covid protocol.

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