King Khaled International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Archive

Dubai: Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that it will be extending the travel ban for its citizens till May 17, local media reported.

The Kingdom’s Ministry of Interior also announced that the country will reopen its air, land, sea borders completely on May 17 instead of March 31, Al Arabiya reported.

Due to the current global delays in vaccine deliveries by manufacturers and in light of the second wave of the virus spreading rapidly around the world, the ministry said it will be extending its travel restrictions.

Saudi Arabia was forced to reschedule appointments for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine after pharmaceutical company Pfizer said they would be delaying deliveries worldwide.

The Kingdom said it aims to ensure that the majority of the public are immunised against the coronavirus before lifting the ban and reopening borders, the official Saudi Press Agency quoted the ministry as saying.

It also wants to maintain the low infection rate currently being reported in the Kingdom, the statement added.

Earlier this month, officials had said that travel restrictions and international flights would resume from March 31. Land and sea ports were also expected to reopen on the same day.

Saudi Arabia suspended flights on December 28 after the emergence of a more infectious strain of COVID-19.