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Sunday, November 26, 2023

Vaccinated Pakistanis can now travel to Saudi Arabia

Pakistanis who have already gotten 2 doses of Sinopharm and Sinovac can now travel to Saudia Arabia with one additional dose of pfizer/astrazaneca/moderna/janssen.

According to KSA Muqeem Portal, Pakistanis who have already been injected with two doses of Sinopharm and Sinovac can now travel to Saudia Arabia with one additional dose of pfizer/astrazaneca/moderna/janssen.

Pakistan has relied extensively on the Sinopharm, CanSinoBio, and Sinovac vaccines donated by neighbor China. This had turned into a problem for the tens of thousands of Pakistanis who work in Saudi Arabia and contribute $7 billion to the country’s total annual remittances.

Saudi Arabia on the other hand had only approved the AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna (MRNA.O) and Johnson and Johnson vaccine earlier. Anyone arriving without one of those shots was required to quarantine at a cost many Pakistani workers could not afford.

This news is therefore being welcomed by Pakistani expatriates who are now finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

In April, it was announced that the travel ban imposed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) would continue for citizens from 20 countries, including Pakistan.

This decision was taken by Saudi Arabia to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country. It was announced by Saudi daily Arab News, quoting Saudia, the country’s national carrier. Saudia Arabia was responding to a query asking whether the travel suspension put in place would continue. Saudi’s travel ban came into effect after the country faced an increase in the number of covid cases.

Though KSA resumed international flights from 17 May onwards, the travel ban was prolonged for passengers from the following countries: Argentina, UAE, Germany, USA, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, UK, Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India, Japan.

Read More: Pakistan bans air travel for unvaccinated citizens

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry had earlier stated that temporary suspension includes whoever comes from other countries if they passed through any of the 20 countries during the 14 days preceding the request to enter the Kingdom.

The Saudi authorities also temporarily banned flights from several European Union countries and Switzerland.

Saudis living in Pakistan and four other Asian countries were asked to return home “as soon as possible” since no flights were available from these countries even after the resumption of international flights by Riyadh.

The news of Saudi Arabia restricting travel to and entry from Ethiopia, UAE, Vietnam and Afghanistan over coronavirus concern also came earlier this month.

The decision was implemented from July 4. The Saudi travel ban will apply to anyone who has been in those four countries within the last 14 days, it was announced.