Saudi Arabia re-imposed RT-PCR test for arrivals

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has re-imposed the RT-PCR test to those arriving from outside the Kingdom. They must produce a negative RT-PCR result, regardless of their vaccination status, effective from Wednesday, February 9 ,local media reported on Sunday.

Every arrival must submit an approved negative RT-PCR test within 48 hours of entering the Kingdom, but those under eight years of age are excluded from this.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, Lieutenant-Colonel Talal Shalhoub in a press conference held on Sunday, confirmed the new security updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On February 3, the Kingdom announced that Saudi citizens who wish to travel outside the Kingdom are required to take a third dose—booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, effective from February 9.

For his part, the official spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Dr Muhammad Abdul-Aali, announced that the curve of the COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia is heading downward as expected after its high peak in the past two weeks. The rate of COVID examinations in the Kingdom increased from 5 to 7 times in previous years, to reach about 150,000 tests per day.

On the other hand, Colonel Talal Al-Shalhoub stated that the follow-up is continuing to preserve the health of citizens, because the pandemic is still ongoing, warning violators of the penalties awaiting them.

New COVID-19 figures

New cases of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia continue to drop below 4,000 cases on Monday, with 3,747 new infections and 4,083 recoveries during the previous 24 hours, with the number of critical cases reaching 1,090.

This brought the total number of infections in the country to 712,644, while the recovery tally reached 670,780. The ministry reported three deaths, taking the number of fatalities to 8,957.

The Kingdom has provided more than 58 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far since the start of vaccination.

Mask mandatory

On December 29, the Saudi government made masks mandatory again in closed and open spaces. It reminded residents and civilians to abide by social distancing rules to limit the spread of Omicron.

“We have directed the reimposition for the public to wear masks and apply social distancing measures in all places [closed and open], activities and events,” the government said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Interior reiterated that people who refuse to wear a face mask in public could face a fine of up to SR100,000. The penalty is SR1,000 for a first offence but doubles for each subsequent infringement up to the maximum.

Also, citizens who breach COVID-19 quarantine rules could face up to two years in prison and a fine of SR200,000, the ministry said. Expatriates who violate the rules will be deported and banned from ever returning to the Kingdom.

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