Saudi Arabia suspends pilgrimage visits in effort to stop the spread of new coronavirus

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AP Photo/Karim Kadim

Passenger disembark from a plane belonging to Saudia airline, at Baghdad International Airport, in Iraq, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Saudi Arabia's national carrier, Saudia, launched its inaugural flight to Baghdad on Thursday.

  • Saudi Arabia suspended tourists visa for those visiting the country for the religious pilgrimage Ummrah or visiting the Prophet's Mosque, in response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
  • The measure is said to be temporary but no timeline has been given for how long the ban will last.
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Saudi Arabia has suspended visas for those who wish to travel to the country for religious pilgrimages. It impacts those making religious pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina in light of the new coronavirus outbreak, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The report said people will not be allowed into the country to perform Ummrah, the lesser pilgrimage that Muslims embark on all throughout the year, or to visit the Prophet Muhammad's Mosque.

Mecca and Medina are the holiest sites for Muslims, and millions visit for pilgrimages every year.

No plan has been announced for changes for the mandatory Hajj, which falls in late July of this year.

The statement also announced that there is a ban on visitors coming from countries impacted by the outbreak.

The precautions are temporary, the statement said but no timeline has been placed on how long they will stay in effect.

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