The Saudi Arabia has issued fresh guidelines for passengers from Pakistan and other countries during the coronavirus pandemic after announcing plans for gradually lifting travel restrictions.
The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) stated in its circular sent to airlines that passengers (non-Saudis) will submit their negative PCR test reports from a verified laboratory abroad. The test report must be done no later than 72 hours before the scheduled departure to any of the airports in the kingdom.
It also said that the condition for PCR test is limited to non-Saudis only who are over the age of eight years. The guidelines also include that ‘different regulations of the departure country must be considered and observed in determining the appropriate age to conduct Covid-19 (PCR) test for children.’
The aviation authority had earlier directed all foreign airlines including Pakistan to strictly implement the prevention measures during flights to Saudi Arabia.
Earlier in September, Saudi Arabia had decided to lift travel restriction in the kingdom from January 1, 2021 imposed earlier owing to Covid-19 pandemic.
The kingdom’s interior ministry had announced that airports, ports and border routes will be made operational from January 1.
Saudi citizens would be able to freely move in and out of the kingdom while citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, as well as expatriates and their dependents on valid visas, will be allowed to enter the kingdom effective from Sept 15.
They include expatriates who have a valid exit and re-entry visa, work visa, residency permit (iqama) and visit visas provided that they fulfil all the coronavirus related precautionary measures and protocols and a coronavirus negative test result carried out 48 hours before the entry of the Kingdom.
The Arab media reports had also stated that the specific date for the lifting of restrictions will be given 30 days before the end of the year and the health ministry may stipulate preventative measures on travellers and transport providers during travel and at airports, ports, and stations.
A plan will be announced to allow the performance of Umrah gradually according to developments, it further said. It is pertinent to mention here that the move was announced days after Saudi Arabia has extended a ban on the arrival of foreign airlines within the kingdom amid Covid-19 pandemic on August 29.