RIYADH, 12 July: Saudi Arabia has allowed Pakistanis vaccinated with Chinese vaccine against the coronavirus (COVID-19) to enter the Kingdom.
However, authorities said, they will have to get a booster shot of Covid-19 vaccine recommended by Saudi Arabia upon arrival in the Kingdom.
Beside two doses of Chinese vaccine, Pakistani nationals will be required to get a booster shot, the authorities said, adding the condition of a negative PCR test for all such travelers also remains in place.
The Kingdom has approved four Covid vaccines, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson for emergency use.
Earlier, the Kingdom had issued a list of recommended vaccines, which does not include vaccines manufactured in China.
Most Pakistanis are being inoculated with Chinese vaccines, including Sinopharm, Sinovac and single-dose CanSino.
President for the General Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques Sheikh Dr Abdurrahman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudais and acting minister of media Dr Majid Bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi launched the operational plan for Hajj season 1442 H (2021). Addressing the ceremony through videoconference, Al-Qasabi said the country’s leaders and people are honoured to serve the Two Holy Mosques and all who come to them as pilgrims or visitors.
“The Kingdom’s government has enabled all the concerned sectors in the country to facilitate the service of pilgrims, and to harness all the security, safety and health capabilities to facilitate the services (that allow) pilgrims to perform the rituals of Hajj with ease,” he added.
Al-Qasabi said this year’s Hajj pilgrimage will be the second under the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic and takes place as new variants of the coronavirus continue to emerge. He added that the decision to limit Hajj to 60,000 pilgrims, all of them from inside the Kingdom, aims to protect them and ensure their rituals can be carried out as safely as possible, Arab News reported.