Saudi Arabia will partially lift its suspension of international flights as of Sep 15 to allow “exceptional categories” of citizens and residents to travel, the state news agency SPA stated on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia will scrap all travel restrictions on air, land and sea transport for citizens on Jan 1, 2021, it said.
In March, the kingdom suspended international flights to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Exceptional categories include public and military sector employees, diplomats and their families, those working for public or non-profit private sector jobs abroad, businessmen, patients who need treatment abroad, those studying abroad as well as people with humanitarian cases, and sports teams.
GCC citizens and non-Saudi residents with valid residency, or visitors’ visas will be allowed to enter the kingdom as of Sep 15 conditional on proving they are COVID-19 negative.
Saudi Arabia introduced stringent measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in March, including 24-hour curfews on most towns and cities.
Other countries, besides Saudi Arabia, planning to lift flight suspension
On Friday, a Malaysian newspaper reported that the country is looking at the possibility of fully reopening its international borders with Singapore in January next year.
The daily quoted the Malaysia’s health minister Adham Baba as saying that the recovery movement control order (MCO) in place over the next four months “would be an important time for the country as it would determine if it was possible to reopen the border with Singapore fully”.
The Star’s report quoted Dr Adham as saying that during the Malaysia’s MCO period, a more systematic approach would be taken in areas such as border control, physical distancing and the use of personal protective equipment.
“We cannot use a trial-and-error approach,” Dr Adham said, adding that it was important to consider the livelihoods of the people who had been affected by Covid-19.
As Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, much are the countries thinking in reopening borders and lift flight suspensions, looking for the recovery of their economy after the crisis by Covid-19.