Middle East

Saudi Arabia suspends pilgrimage entry visas over coronavirus fears

Issued on: 27/02/2020 – 01:57Modified: 27/02/2020 – 01:57

Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended visas for pilgrims wishing to visit Mecca over coronavirus fears, the foreign ministry said.

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The government is "suspending entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet's Mosque temporarily", the foreign ministry said in a statement, referring to the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of year.

Umrah attracts tens of thousands of devout Muslims from all over the globe each month.

The foreign ministry said it was also suspending visas for tourists visiting from countries where the new virus is a "danger".

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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