Saudi Arabia halts entry from coronavirus-hit states for Umrah

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 11:58, Feb 27, 2020 | Updated : 11:59, Feb 27, 2020

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand mosque at the end of their Haj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 13, 2019. REUTERSThe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has imposed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Visit to the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah has also been halted, UNB reported quoting Arab News on Thursday (Feb 27).

Tourists from countries posing a particularly high risk of spreading coronavirus will also be denied entry.

For the time being, Saudis and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council nations will not be able to use a national identity card to travel to and from KSA. But, Saudis returning home and GCC citizens willing to go back to their home countries are an exception to this rule.

Nearly seven million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah, according to the report.

Coronavirus, which broke out in China’s Wuhan, has infected more than 81,000 people globally and killed more than 2,700 people.

KSA stressed that the restrictions are temporary and urged its citizens not to travel to countries worst affected by the coronavirus.

Seven Saudis were among the latest coronavirus cases in Bahrain and Kuwait.