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Saudi Arabia allows foreigners to submit request to leave

A picture taken on March 26, 2020, shows a huge A billboard which says 'Stay Home' in the Saudi capital Riyadh [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images]
A billboard which says 'Stay Home' in the Saudi capital Riyadh, 26 March 2020 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images]

Saudi government has launched an electronic system, through which foreign residents wishing to return to their home countries can submit requests to the relevant authorities, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported yesterday.

The initiative was first announced by the Saudi Interior Ministry in late April to allow residents who hold "exit and final return visas" to leave the country by submitting applications on the online platform "Absher". This time, the authorities have allowed residents holding "exit, final return, visit and tourist visas" to have the opportunity to leave by submitting online requests.

The move is said to have come amid a nationwide suspension of international flights, as part of a series of measures imposed by the kingdom to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus – known as COVID-19.

So far, the virus – which emerged in Wuhan, China in December – has infected a total of 3,806,269 people globally, including 263,487 who have died. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the disease a pandemic.

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