Saudi Arabia has suspended pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina for people outside the country as a proactive preventive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus (#covid19) to the kingdom.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made this known in statement posted on Twitter, announcing that the annual religious rituals will be open to its residents and nationals only.
The Ministry explained that they had taken this decision based on the recommendations of its competent health authorities and to provide the utmost protection for the safety of its citizens and residents.
The statement reads in part, “The Kingdom’s government has decided to take the following precautions:
“1- Suspending entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque temporarily.
“2- Suspending entry into the Kingdom with tourist visas for those coming from countries in which the spread of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a danger, according to the criteria determined by the competent health authorities in the Kingdom.
“3- Suspending the use by Saudi nationals and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council states of the national identity card to travel to and from the Kingdom, except for Saudis who are abroad if their exit from the Kingdom is with the national identity card, and citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries currently inside the Kingdom, and wish to return from it to their countries. in case that their entry was with the national identity card, in order for the concerned authorities at the entry points to verity from which countries visitors came before their arrival to the kingdom and apply health precautions to deal with those coming from those countries.”