Stranded expats told to wait until COVID-19 crisis is over before returning to Saudi Arabia

According to the WHO, people can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth. (File/AFP)

JEDDAH (RAHNUMA) Expats stranded outside of Saudi Arabia due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will only be allowed to return to the Kingdom after the health crisis is over, government officials have revealed.

Responding to an expat’s Twitter inquiry asking when they would be able to return, the Saudi General Directorate of Passports said: “You will not be allowed to come back until the pandemic is over, under a valid entry visa, and once an official statement is released.”

Meanwhile, in a bid to tackle mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, health chiefs in Jouf announced that they had offered 1,368 consultations since March to help individuals feeling the strain of dealing with the crisis at the Erada Mental Health center.

Several inspection trips to institutions were carried out, with residents interviewed on the phone as part of virtual clinic services to check on their well-being and offer them appropriate medical consultation.

Follow-ups on patients suspected of contracting COVID-19 also took place to help limit their stress and diagnose the type and level of anxiety, with appropriate psychological and social support provided for them and their families.

A strategy aimed at raising awareness levels post-COVID-19 recovery has also been implemented as part of Jouf Health Affairs’ efforts to combat the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom recorded 41 new COVID-19-related deaths on Wednesday, raising the total to 1,387.
There were 3,123 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 167,267 people have now contracted the disease. There were 53,083 active cases, and 2,129 of them are in critical condition.

According to the Ministry of Health, 278 of the newly recorded cases were in Makkah, while Riyadh reported 225, and Jeddah 214. In addition, 2,912 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 112,797.

Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 1,380,031 tests for COVID-19.

Ministry officials reiterated the need for people to continue to regularly wash their hands with soap and wear a medical or fabric face mask whenever they left their homes.

They also recommended the Mawid app to check any symptoms or set up an appointment to get tested for COVID-19. For a consultation, call 937 or message the health ministry’s WhatsApp on 920005937 regarding any inquiries.

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