Saudi Arabia suspends entry for Umrah amid Coronavirus fright

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have stated that the country has temporarily suspended entry to the country for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s (SAWW) mosque as a precautionary measure. The suspension comes as new cases of the Coronavirus continue to be detected around the world.

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Here’s the full press release which was posted on the Saudi Press Agency:

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that the relevant health authorities in Saudi Arabia have followed the developments related to the spread of the new Coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and have adopted several temporary, precautionary measures affecting travel to and from the Kingdom.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms the Kingdom’s resolve in combatting the spread of the virus through the relevant health authorities, by applying international standards, and by supporting the efforts of countries and international organizations in their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, especially the World Health Organization (WHO).

And in order to achieve these goals, and ensure the highest degree of safety to residents in the Kingdom, relevant Saudi authorities have recommended precautionary measures to prevent Coronavirus from reaching the Kingdom. The Kingdom has decided to implement a number of measures including:

– Entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and/or visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina is temporarily suspended.

– Entry to the Kingdom with a tourist visa from countries with confirmed Coronavirus outbreaks, according to criteria established by Saudi health authorities, is temporarily suspended.

– The use of national identity cards (instead of passports) for travel to and from the Kingdom is suspended. Exceptions will be allowed for Saudi nationals who left Saudi Arabia by using their national identity cards, or citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council countries wishing to return from Saudi Arabia after entering with their national identity cards.

In these exceptional cases of entry to the Kingdom via a national identity card, authorities will consider which countries an individual previously visited, and apply relevant health procedures.

Saudi Arabia stresses that these measures are temporary and subject to continuous evaluation by the relevant authorities.

Saudi Arabia renews its support for all international measures to limit the spread of this virus, and urges its citizens to exercise caution before traveling to countries experiencing Coronavirus outbreaks.

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