Notification issued by Gulf kingdom urges nationals living in affected countries to return ‘as soon as possible’ to avoid being stranded
Saudi Arabia on Friday banned incoming travel from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines in light of a recent surge in coronavirus infections in all five countries.
A notification issued by the General Authority of Civil Aviation said the decision had been taken to prevent the entry of COVID-19 from these countries into the Gulf kingdom. Saudis living in Pakistan and the other affected countries have been advised to return home “as soon as possible,” with authorities warning that no passenger from these states would be allowed entry after 72 hours.
In February, Saudi Arabia had imposed a complete ban on international travel. Earlier this week, it announced that international flights would resume from May 17 except from countries that are still under a travel ban. People traveling from Argentina, the U.A.E., Germany, the U.S., Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, the U.K., Turkey, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, and Japan were informed that they would continue to be barred, with the restrictions also applying to passengers who have visited any of the prohibited countries in the 14 days prior to their arrival.
Saudi Arabia becomes the fourth country to restrict entry from Pakistan amidst the country’s ongoing third wave of the pandemic. Previously, Canada, Oman, and the U.K. had all banned travel from Pakistan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday warned that Pakistan was “a few days, at most two weeks” from reaching a point where its healthcare infrastructure would be so overloaded that the government would have no choice but to enforce lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19. Urging the public to adopt all SOPs, especially mask compliance, to avoid this, he stressed that the country’s economy could not afford another lockdown.