Saudi Arabia bans citizens from travelling to 16 countries over COVID threat

May 23, 2022: Saudi Arabia has banned citizens from travelling to 16 countries due to Covid-19 cases in those countries following the rapid surge in the number of daily infections over the past few weeks.

The General Directorate of Passports said that the list of countries included Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, and Venezuela.

The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) emphasised that the validity of the passport of Saudis who intend to travel to non-Arab countries must be more than six months.

Further, the Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has assured the public that zero monkeypox cases have been detected in the country. Abdullah Asiri, Deputy Minister of Health for preventive health has said that the Kingdom has the capability to monitor and discover any suspected monkeypox cases and also to fight against the infection if any new case emerges.

“Until now, cases of transmission between humans are very limited, and therefore the possibility of any outbreaks occurring from it, even in countries that have detected cases, are very low,” he added.

Meanwhile, The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it expects to identify more cases of monkeypox as it expands surveillance in countries where the disease is not typically found.

As of Saturday, 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported from 12 member states that are not endemic for the virus, the UN agency said, adding it will provide further guidance and recommendations in coming days for countries on how to mitigate the spread of monkeypox.

“Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring among people in close physical contact with cases who are symptomatic”, the agency added.

Monkeypox is an infectious disease that is usually mild, and is endemic in parts of west and central Africa. It is spread by close contact, so it can be relatively easily contained through such measures as self-isolation and hygiene.

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