Saudis living in Sri Lanka advised to return home

Saudis living in Sri Lanka and four other Asian countries have been advised to return home as soon as possible, the Dawn newspaper reported.

According to the report, Saudis have been told to return home since no flights would be available from these countries even if Riyadh decides to resume international flights next month.

The four other countries are India, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines.

According to a notification issued by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Friday, the decision has been taken after a surge in coronavirus cases in these countries.

The Saudi authorities have also temporarily banned flights from a number of European Union countries and Switzerland.

Meanwhile, according to Arab Times, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has told airlines operating in the Kingdom that boarding passes must only be issued to passengers whose health status, as recorded by the Tawakkalna application, is “immune” or “not been confirmed with infection.”

Airlines and the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority were instructed to work quickly and as a matter of urgency to ensure that passenger data is linked to the application. GACA said that Tawakkalna status alone will be sufficient proof that a person is not suffering from coronavirus infection, and there will be no need for supporting documents.

The authority also instructed that a mechanism must be provided to contact by text message those passengers whose health status does not meet requirements and inform them that their bookings have to be canceled. It stressed the importance of protecting the rights of travelers when canceling their bookings.

Meanwhile Saudis and expatriates in the Kingdom continue to receive coronavirus vaccines, with 7,868,232 people inoculated so far, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH).
The ministry on Friday reported 1,098 new coronavirus cases, meaning that 410,191 people in the Kingdom have contracted the disease since the beginning of the pandemic. There are 9,660 active cases, and 1,205 patients are in critical condition.

Of the new cases, 454 are in the Riyadh region, 244 in the Makkah region, 171 in the Eastern Province and 42 in the Madinah region. (Colombo Gazette)