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Saudi minister calls on countries to ‘be patient’ regarding Hajj pilgrimage

Saudi minister calls on countries to ‘be patient’ regarding Hajj pilgrimage

Nations must exercise patience till the outlook on the Covid-19 epidemic and its current and future implications become clear

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and its spread, the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Muhammad Saleh bin Taher Banten, has called upon countries worldwide to ‘be patient’ in concluding Hajj contracts for this year, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The minister urged nations to exercise patience until the outlook on the Covid-19 epidemic and its current and future implications become clear, considering the safety of pilgrims and public health as a priority.

Saudi Arabia is concerned with the safety of all pilgrims and visitors who are in health isolation hotels and continue to be in in good health.

“We have coordinated with the Ministry of Health [for] an inspection tour of hotels that were used for health isolation to ensure that all services and care are provided to Umrah performers in Makkah,” the minister said, in an interview with Al-Ikhbaria TV.

Based on current conditions, fees paid by pilgrims who received Umrah visas but couldn’t undertake the pilgrimage due to the precautionary, temporary suspension is currently being refunded, he added. As many as 2.5 million Muslims convened in Saudi Arabia to perform the religious duty in 2019.

On March 24, the General Directorate of Passports had announced that Umrah pilgrims in Saudi Arabia who had exceeded their visa period could apply for an ‘exemption’ till March 28.

Read: Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia who exceeded Umrah visa to apply for ‘exemption’

On March 4, Saudi Arabia said that it was temporarily suspending Umrah for citizens and residents in the kingdom due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more: Saudi temporarily suspends Umrah for citizens, residents over coronavirus outbreak

In addition, all international flights to and from the kingdom were suspended for two weeks beginning 11am on Sunday, March 15.

Read: Saudi Arabia suspends all international flights for two weeks

The kingdom has reported a total of 1,563 Covid-19 infections, including 165 individuals who have now recovered, and 10 people who have died as a result of the disease.

Read more: Coronavirus: UAE reports one additional death; Saudi records two deaths

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