Saudi Arabia suspends pilgrimage visits in effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus

Passengers disembarking from a plane belonging to the airline Saudia in 2017. AP Photo/Karim Kadim
  • In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Saudi Arabia has suspended tourists visa for those hoping to visit the country for the religious pilgrimage Umrah or to see the Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque.
  • The measure is said to be temporary, but no timeline has been given for how long the ban will last.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Saudi Arabia has suspended visas for those wishing to travel to the country for religious pilgrimages. It affects those making religious pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina in light of the new coronavirus outbreak, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The report said people would not be allowed into the country to perform Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage that Muslims embark on throughout the year, or to visit the Prophet Muhammad’s Mosque.

Mecca and Medina are the holiest sites for Muslims, and millions visit for pilgrimages every year.

No plan has been announced for changes for the mandatory Hajj, which this year falls in late July.

The statement also announced that there was a ban on visitors coming from countries affected by the outbreak.

The precautions are temporary, the statement said, but no timeline has been placed on how long they will stay in effect.