Saudi Arabia suspends entry for Umrah temporarily amid coronavirus fears


RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Thursday.Saudi Arabia have also suspended the entry of tourist visa holders coming from countries where the new coronavirus is spreading dangerously, according to the criteria determined by the competent health authorities in the Kingdom.

The ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the health authorities in Saudi Arabia are closely following the developments of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Ministry affirms the keenness of the Kingdom’s government through those authorities to implement the approved international standards and support the efforts of countries and international organizations, especially the World Health Organization, to stop the virus from spreading.

The ministry of Foreign Affairs said that this precautions comes in completion of the efforts taken to provide the utmost protection to the safety of citizens and residents and everyone who intends to come to the the Kingdom to perform Umrah or visit the Prophet’s Mosque or for the purpose of tourism.

“This precautions based on the recommendations of the competent health authorities to apply the highest precautionary standards, and take proactive preventive measures to prevent the arrival of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the Kingdom and its spread,” The ministry added.

The authorities have also suspended the use of the national identity card to travel to and from the Kingdom by Saudi nationals and Gulf citizens, in order for the concerned authorities at the entry points to verify from which countries visitors came before their arrival to the kingdom, and apply health precautions to deal with those coming from those countries.

Saudi Arabia affirms that these procedures are temporary, and subject to continuous evaluation by the competent authorities.

The Foreign Ministry calls on citizens not to travel to countries where the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading.