Dubai airline Emirates has confirmed that passengers from over 20 countries will not be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia due to restrictions imposed over coronavirus fears.
“Due to a directive issued by Saudi Arabia’s ministry of Foreign Affairs, the following will be suspended entry to the kingdom from February 27 until further notice,” the airline said in a statement on its website.
“All customers holding tourist visas and coming from: China and SAR (Hong Hong and Macau), Iran, Italy, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Singapore, India, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Somalia and Vietnam.”
All those with Umrah visas will also not be permitted to travel to the kingdom, the airline said.
Passengers “holding tickets for a final destination in Saudi Arabia with Umrah visa or coming from the above countries, will not be accepted for boarding at their point of origin until further notice,” the statement said.
Those impacted due to cancellation of flights should contact their travel agent, or Emirates Office for refunds and rebooking options.
All GCC nationals travelling to/from Saudi Arabia are also mandated to use their passports for travel (except for those who are outside the kingdom and wish to return to it).
The airline’s announcement comes after Saudi Arabia’s ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Thursday saying that it was temporarily suspending all visits for religious pilgrims to Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
Additionally, the ministry also suspended the entry for tourists arriving from countries where there has been an outbreak of coronavirus.
The ministry said that the decision was “based on the recommendation of the competent health authorities to apply the highest precautionary standards,” and that it was taking “proactive preventive measures to prevent the arrival of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19) to the kingdom and its spread.”
Read more: Saudi Arabia suspends all Umrah visits