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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudi Arabia has announced a partially lifting of its suspension of international flights with effect from Tuesday to allow "exceptional categories" of citizens and residents to travel, the state news agency SPA said on Sunday.
The kingdom will scrap all travel restrictions on air, land and sea transport for citizens on January 1, 2021, the agency said, quoting an interior ministry official.
Saudi Arabia suspended all international flights in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The exceptional categories eligible to travel from September 15 include public and military sector employees, diplomats and their families, workers in regional and international organisations, employees in permanent jobs outside the kingdom, and businessmen.
Patients who need treatment abroad, particularly cancer for treatment or organ transplants are also allowed to travel, as well as people with humanitarian cases, students on scholarships or medical fellowship programmes, and sports teams.
GCC citizens and non-Saudi residents with valid residency or visitors' visas will be allowed to enter the kingdom, provided they can show proof that they are Covid-19 negative.
The ministry official said the lifting of travel restrictions would take effect from 6am on Tuesday.
The travel ban was among a series of stringent measures introduced in the kingdom to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including 24-hour curfews on most towns and cities.
The kingdom also cancelled Umrah pilgrimages and allowed only a limited number of citizens and foreign resident to perform the Hajj this year with strict precautionary measures to prevent the spread of infection.
The official said a decision to gradually allow the resumption of Umrah pilgrimages would be assessed separately from the current planned lifting of the travel restrictions.
Saudi Arabia has recorded 325,651 Covid-19 cases and 4,268 deaths, with daily infections down drastically from a peak of nearly 5,000 in mid-June.
The Saudi Ministry of Health reported 601 new cases and 28 additional deaths on Sunday.
The number patients who have recovered rose by 1,034 to 302,870, the ministry said.
Updated: September 13, 2020 10:27 PM
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