Home Latest News Saudi Arabia to End Ban on Direct Flights from Pakistan

Saudi Arabia to End Ban on Direct Flights from Pakistan

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo. Farooq Naeem—AFP

Travelers to Gulf kingdom will still need to under a mandatory 5-day quarantine, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status

Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Thursday confirmed that Saudi Arabia had decided to allow direct flights from Pakistan from Dec. 1, ending a ban that had required travelers to spend at least 14 days in a third country prior to entry.

In a posting on Twitter, he said that the Saudi directive would become effective next week, from Wednesday.

Earlier, Saudi state media had reported that the Gulf kingdom had decided to withdraw a ban on direct flights from six countries—Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Brazil and Vietnam—with passengers from these states no longer requiring a 14-day quarantine in a third country. The temporary restriction had been imposed in February in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. It was amended in August to allow direct flights for fully vaccinated individuals possessing valid Saudi residency permits, but all non-residents were required to spend 14 days in a third country.

According to the report, all travelers from these countries would still need to spend 5 days in quarantine at a government-designated facility upon their arrival to Saudi Arabia, regardless of their vaccination status.

Special Assistant to the P.M. on Religious Harmony Tahir Ashrafi also confirmed the news and thanked the Saudi Interior Ministry as well as the Saudi leadership for ending the restrictions. In a statement, he said that once the decision comes into effect next week, thousands of Pakistanis who had been waiting to travel to Saudi Arabia would once again be able to do so.

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