Pilgrims islam muslim mecca hajj
© ReutersPilgrims arrive at King Abdulaziz International Airport for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, July 17, 2021.
Saudi citizens planning to travel abroad from next month must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry said on Monday.

The new rule takes effect on August 9.

The decision was made based on new waves of infection globally, new mutations, and the "low efficacy of one vaccination dose against these mutations", the ministry said.

Children under the age of 12 will be exempt from the new rules, provided that their travel insurance covers coronavirus-related costs and is pre-approved by the Saudi Central Bank, the ministry said in a statement released on the Saudi Press Agency.

Comment: Insurance companies refusing the unvaccinated is appearing to be yet another avenue of coercion.

Those who caught the virus in the past six months and have received their first dose of vaccine are exempt.

Comment: The claim that the one must be 'fully vaccinated' to travel is rather misleading, then, and perhaps intentionally so.

The kingdom has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca-Oxford, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines, with more than 20 million doses administered so far.

The ministry has started to administer the second dose of approved vaccines to all age groups across the country.