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Saudi temporarily suspends Umrah for citizens, residents over coronavirus outbreak

Saudi temporarily suspends Umrah for citizens, residents over coronavirus outbreak

The kingdom reported its first case of the coronavirus earlier this week

Saudi Arabia is temporarily suspending Umrah for citizens and residents in the kingdom due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Wednesday.

The decision will be “reviewed continuously”, and the suspension will be lifted once the situation is under control, SPA quoted an official source at the ministry of Interior as saying.

The move is among precautionary measures that the kingdom’s government is taking to limit the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 and prevent its spread to the two holy mosques, the report stated.

Saudi stopped permitting access to tourists with Umrah visas last week, and also temporarily suspended the entry of GCC citizens to Makkah and Madinah.

The kingdom also announced that all GCC nationals travelling to/from Saudi Arabia would be required to use their passports – rather than IDs – for travel (except for those who are outside the kingdom and wish to return to it).

Read: Emirates says travellers from over 20 countries will not be allowed to fly to Saudi

Earlier this week, the kingdom’s ministry of Hajj and Umrah said it had set up an online system for pilgrims to collect a refund on their Umrah trips.

Read: Saudi Arabia launches online service for Umrah visa refunds

Saudi Arabia reported its first case of the coronavirus on Monday.

A Saudi citizen, who came from Iran via Bahrain, tested positive for the virus.

The ministry said that the citizen did not disclose his visit to Iran at the Saudi port.

Read more: Saudi Arabia confirms first case of coronavirus

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