RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Riyadh has done away with the quarantine requirement for returnees from India who have been vaccinated in Saudi Arabia, according to the Indian embassy.

“Embassy is pleased to inform that Saudi Authorities have announced that Indian nationals who have traveled to India after receiving both doses of the vaccine in Saudi Arabia will be able to return to the Kingdom directly without the need for quarantine in a third country,” it said in the tweet.

Last month, Saudi Arabia had announced that the Kingdom will impose a three-year travel ban on citizens traveling to countries on the Kingdom’s ‘red list’ under efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 and its new variants.

In May, Saudi lifted the travel ban that was imposed on people arriving from 11 countries. However, the ban continues to remain in effect for nine countries, including India and Pakistan.

Saudi, earlier this month, opened its border for travelers after 17-months of tight Covid-19 restrictions. Fully vaccinated people with doses recognized by the authorities are allowed to travel to the country provided they have a certificate of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test report generated within 72 hours of arrival. What these people wouldn’t need to subject themselves to is a mandatory 14-day quarantine. 

As of Aug. 1 guidelines, Saudi was continuing to bar entry of nationals from the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain who have either transited from or been to Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates or Vietnam within 14 days of arrival.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates authorities have temporarily suspended issuing visas on arrival for Indian passengers who are arriving from or have been in India in the past 14 days, according to Etihad Airways.

However, no specific reason is known for the suspension.

The United Kingdom earlier in August moved India from its high-risk-designated countries on the “red list” to countries designated as moderate risk on the “amber list.” What this means for India is that fully vaccinated arrivals are not required to undergo a 10-day quarantine.

It uses a “traffic light” system in which each color represents a degree of risk from low to moderate through high. 

As per the current guidelines, only British and Irish nationals or residents of the United Kingdom are allowed in from the red-designated countries. As for the low-risk category or the “Green” listers, international arrivals don’t need to quarantine unless they return a positive Covid-19 test in either or both of the two tests they are required to take.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Amrita Das and Krishna Kakani

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