NAIROBI—Saudi Arabia has placed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims in an attempt to ensure public safety by preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
Most foreign pilgrims often visit the Proph- et’s Mosque in Madinah before or after the completion of their religious duties in Makkah, this has also been halted.
It is one of a number of precautionary restrictions announced early on Thursday as health authorities in the Kingdom closely monitor the spread of the virus.
Tourist-vi- sa holders from countries judged to pose a particularly high risk of spreading the virus will also be denied entry.
Health authorities at entry points will verify which countries travelers visited before arriving in Saudi Arabia and apply all necessary precautionary measures.
Saudi officials stressed that the restrictions are temporary and will be continuously reviewed by the health authorities. They reiterated the Kingdom’s support for and implementation of international efforts to limit the spread of the virus, and the Foreign Ministry urged citizens not to travel to the countries worst affected by the corona-virus.
Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.
Earlier, it emerged that seven Saudis are among the latest coronavirus cases in Bahrain and Kuwait. The Bahraini Ministry of Health on Wednesday said six Saudi women has tested positive for the virus.
They had arrived at Bahrain Intentional Airport on a flight from Iran. The total number of confirmed cases in the country stands at 26. Studies at schools and universities have been suspended for two weeks in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.
Kuwait announced the first case of a Saudi citizen infected by the virus. The man, who had arrived in the country from the Iranian city of Mashhad, has been placed in quarantine for 14 days.