Saudi Arabia lifted coronavirus travel restrictions on Monday on its citizens traveling to Ethiopia, India, Turkey and Vietnam, the state news agency SPA reported.
Last month, Saudi Arabia banned its citizens from traveling to 16 countries over the Covid-19 outbreak. The list comprised Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Turkey, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yemen.
Earlier this month, the kingdom lifted measures imposed to prevent the spread of the virus, including a requirement to wear face masks indoors.
After a break of two years due to restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, Saudi Arabia opened up for pilgrims from around the world.
Due to quotas imposed by Saudi Arabia, all countries can only send a certain number of pilgrims every year.
Saudi Arabia will let up to 1 million people join the hajj pilgrimage this year, greatly expanding the key event to participants from outside the kingdom after two years of tight Covid restrictions.
Pilgrims to Mecca this year must be under the age of 65 and fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said in a statement carried by the SPA news agency.
Participants from abroad will be allowed this year but must present a recent negative Covid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test and health precautions will be observed, it said.
Last year, the kingdom limited the annual hajj, one of Islam’s five main pillars, to 60,000 domestic participants, compared to the pre-pandemic 2.5 million.
The hajj is among the five pillars of Islam, mandatory for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. It involves a series of rituals that reach their climax in Qurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha), which will begin in the second week of July this year according to the Islamic calendar.
Most of Vietnam’s population have been fully vaccinated.
The country of 98 million people has seen a major drop in daily new cases over the past months and lifted most Covid restrictions for foreign tourists.
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