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Saudi Arabia suspends Umrah pilgrimage due to Coronavirus spread

Saudi Arabia suspends Umrah pilgrimage due to Coronavirus spread

In the wake of the deadly “coronavirus” and its spread in countries throughout Middle East and South Asia, Saudi Arabia has placed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims in an attempt to ensure public safety by preventing the spread of the epidemic.

This temporary ban has also been extended to the Prophets Mosque in Madina well as tourists traveling from countries where the coronavirus poses a risk as determined by the Kingdom’s health authorities.

The new precautions are “based on the recommendations of the competent health authorities to apply the highest precautionary standards and take proactive preventive measures to prevent the emergence of the coronavirus in the Kingdom and its spread,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Twitter.

The statement posted by the country’s foreign ministry on its Twitter handle said that Saudi Arabia is “suspending entry into the kingdom with tourist visas for those coming from countries in which the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is a danger, according to the criteria determined by the competent health authorities in the Kingdom”.

In addition, Saudi nationals and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council nations will not be able to use a national identity card to travel to and from the Kingdom for the time being.

Exceptions:

Exceptions shall be granted to Saudis returning home, and citizens of GCC countries who are in the Kingdom and want to return to their home countries, provided that they left or entered the Kingdom using a national identity card.

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Health authorities at entry points will verify which countries travellers visited before arriving in Saudi Arabia and apply all necessary precautionary measures.

Even as the number of fresh cases declines at the epicentre of the disease in China, there has been a sudden increase in parts of Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

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