Home Latest News Saudi Arabia Allows Tourists Inoculated with Chinese Vaccines—and a Booster

Saudi Arabia Allows Tourists Inoculated with Chinese Vaccines—and a Booster

by Staff Report

File photo of the Abha airport in the southwest of Saudi Arabia. Fayez Nureldine—AFP

Gulf kingdom says visitors fully vaccinated with any of four approved vaccines will not be required to quarantine upon arrival

Saudi Arabia this week announced that it will no longer require any quarantine for fully vaccinated international visitors, adding that people inoculated with Chinese vaccines that have not been approved by it will require a booster shot if they wish to avoid restrictions upon entry.

According to the Gulf kingdom’s e-visa portal, the country has approved four vaccines—Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. “All visitors arriving in the country [from Aug. 1] with a valid tourism visa must provide evidence of a full course of one of the four vaccines currently recognized,” it said.

“Guests who have completed two doses of the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines will be accepted if they have received an additional dose of one of the four vaccines approved in the kingdom,” it added, providing the link to a web portal where visitors could register their vaccination status.

The directive comes as the World Health Organization has called for a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of September to “enable at least 10 percent of the population of every country to be vaccinated.” In a statement, the WHO director-general said it was unfortunate that high-income countries were availing boosters, even as low-income states struggled to provide even the initial vaccination due to the inequitable distribution of vaccines.

In its advisory, Saudi Arabia says that even vaccinated travelers are required to provide a negative PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours prior to commencement of their journey. They also need an approved paper vaccination certificate that has been verified by official health authorities in the issuing country, it added.

“There is no quarantine requirement for vaccinated travelers to Saudi Arabia,” it said, adding that any visitors entering on an older visa would be required to pay an additional fee of 40 Saudi riyals upon their arrival to cover insurance for any COVID-19 related medical expenses.

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