Passengers queue at the check-in counters prior to their departure at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City on July 15, 2021. Kuwait has become the latest GCC country to tighten travel restrictions, banning unvaccinated citizens from travelling abroad as of August 1. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar have tightened travel curbs to contain the spread of COVID-19 variants.

Kuwait has become the latest GCC country to tighten travel restrictions, banning unvaccinated citizens from travelling abroad as of August 1. The decision comes just a few hours after Saudi Arabia announced a three-year travel ban on citizens who travel to countries on the red list.

Saudi red list countries

The Saudi move follows reports about citizens travelling to the banned countries in violation of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and instructions issued by official authorities. The kingdom’s red-list countries include the UAE, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, India and Vietnam.

Kuwait, however, exempted from the travel ban slapped on unvaccinated citizens children under 16 years and those with a health ministry certificate, saying they cannot be vaccinated, as well as pregnant women, who get a pregnancy proof certificate from authorities.

Oman to unveil new rules on Thursday

Meanwhile, Oman is expected to announce new travel restrictions tomorrow (Thursday) when the Supreme Committee tackling COVID-19 meets to decide on the future course of action for preventing the spread of the pandemic in the Sultanate.

Oman has already barred travellers from 23 countries from entering the Sultanate until further notice. The red-list countries include Sudan, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Libya, Argentina, Colombia, and Brunei. Passengers who passed through the red list countries in the past 14 days are banned from entering the Sultanate.

Bahrain curbs remain

Bahrain updated its travel curbs on July 13 by adding more countries on its red list, banning the entry of travellers from these countries from entering the Kingdom. The decision was taken by the Civil Aviation Authority and the National Taskforce for combating coronavirus.

The red list countries include Dominican, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Panama, the Philippines’, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Passengers who passed through the banned countries need to have a 14-day quarantine in non-prohibited countries, except for Bahrain’s citizens and residents.

Qatar rules in place

In Qatar, travellers, who have been inoculated and approved by health authorities, will not be quarantined as part of the country’s updated travel policy. However, the vaccinated passengers still need to take a PCR test before arriving in Qatar.

The new policy classifies countries into three categories — green, yellow and red. A quarantine policy for each category will be applied to unvaccinated travellers arriving in Qatar.

All passengers coming to Qatar will also have to pre-register on the “Ehteraz” website and attach all the required documents no less than 12 hours before arrival.