The UK has announced a new set of rules which states that fully vaccinated Saudi Arabian citizens will be allowed to enter the country, and they do not need self-isolation.
Saudis who have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be able to enter the UK from October 4, 2021. They only need to take a Covid-19 test after two days of arrival, reported Arab News.
Meanwhile, the number of infections in Saudi Arabia is steadily declining, as the government has announced that over 40 million doses of the vaccine have been administered.
The changes were announced as part of a series aimed to simplify the UK's "traffic-light" system of travel restrictions, which classified nations in green, amber or red categories based on the amount of risk. Now, the amber category will be scrapped.
UK's Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the country will now have a simpler two-tier version that designated nations as "red or open".
However, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have set their own rules pertaining to the entry of foreign citizens.
The most benefit will accrue to countries that have a vaccination system that is recognised by the United Kingdom. As part of a trial programme, the United States and Europe have already been granted this status; now Saudi Arabia has joined 16 other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Japan, and the Republic of Singapore.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines must have been taken at least 14 days before to travel for travellers from these countries. They won't have to undergo a PCR test before leaving, but they will have to do so two days after arriving. Instead of a PCR test, a lateral flow test will be used starting in October since it is less expensive and faster.
Egypt, Oman, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Kenya will also enjoy these benefits from September 22.
Shapps said that the changes are being made to create a more straightforward system with "less testing and lower costs", which will allow more people to travel, see loved ones, and conduct business.
He said that the government was able to make the changes thanks to the high inoculation rates in the UK, where more than eight out of 10 adults are fully vaccinated.