Saudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage amid Coronavirus Fears

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended foreigners’ entry for the Umrah pilgrimage and tourism from countries where the new coronavirus has spread.

Saudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage amid Coronavirus Fears

The ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that the suspensions were temporary but provided no timeframe for their expiry, Reuters reported.

It was unclear if the Hajj pilgrimage, which is scheduled to begin in late July, would be impacted.

Entry is also suspended for visits to the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque in Medina.

The ministry did not specify people from which countries would be impacted but said the kingdom’s health authorities would determine where the outbreak constituted a danger.

Umrah, a lesser pilgrimage compared to the annual Hajj, involves a visit to Saudi Arabia where Islam's holiest site Kaaba is located.

The new coronavirus, which is believed to have originated in a market selling wildlife in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has infected about 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700, the vast majority in China. 

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