Authorities are requiring all non-Saudis, except for children aged eight and under, to present a negative coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test to travel to Saudi Arabia as of Jan. 5. The COVID-19 test must have been administered with 72 hours of departing to the kingdom; travelers who do not provide the requisite negative test result will be barred from boarding their flight. Travelers will be required to complete a health disclaimer form and download and register on the Tatamman and Tawakkalna applications prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia. All arrivals will be subject to a maximum of seven days home quarantine; however, the quarantine period may be reduced to three days upon the completion of an additional COVID-19 test. Only non-Saudis with valid exit and entry, work, or residency visas will be permitted to enter Saudi Arabia; travelers with tourist visas are barred from entry.
The Saudi government lifted a ban on all international flights and the closure of its land and sea borders to travelers from Jan. 3. However, some restrictions remain in place over concerns of a new COVID-19 variant. Non-Saudis arriving from the UK, South Africa, India, Brazil, Argentina, and other countries where a new variant of the virus has been detected must remain outside of these countries for 14 days before entering the Kingdom. Saudi nationals are permitted entry into the Kingdom from countries where the new variant has been found but will have to quarantine for 14 days and be subject to two COVID-19 tests. The move follows a number of more targeted travel bans by several other countries in reaction to the new disease variant, which was initially discovered in the southeast of England.
Domestically, commercial and business activities are operating, but strict public health measures are in place. Establishments that open must implement enhanced sanitization procedures, perform temperature checks of employees and patrons, and comply with social distancing guidelines. All gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people.
Authorities could reintroduce restrictive measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic if there is a significant increase in cases; such protocols could be ambiguous and occasionally contradictory.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.