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Corona Virus (Covid-19) is one of the biggest threats the world has to face in 2020. Within days, the virus has shown drastic effects that no one could have thought of. Originated from Wuhan, China the deadly virus has killed more than 2,800 people through this respiratory tract infection.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the virus was spreading faster outside China than inside for the first time. More than 80,000 people in about 40 countries have been infected with the new corona virus, which emerged in December. Infecting people from New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan the major outbreak has been recorded in various middle-eastern countries like Lebanon, Kuwait, and Iraq etc.
However, the major hotspot for corona now-a-days is Iran with 245 cases and 26 deaths from it as per confirmed. In the light of these events, Saudi Foreign Ministry in coordination with Saudi Ministry of Health decided to put a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims. What are the conditions? Is there any exception to the ban? Read all the exclusive insights about the biggest hype of the day in the article below.
The Ban of Umrah Pilgrimage in the Light of Corona-Virus
Saudi Arabia has placed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims in an attempt to ensure public safety by preventing the spread of the corona virus. The Ministry of Tourism has confirmed it in coordination with competent health authorities of the kingdom. This ban is among the number of precautionary restrictions announced early on Thursday as health authorities in the Kingdom closely monitor the spread of the virus.
Is Saudi Arabia Local Citizens & Saudi Expats also Banned from Umrah pilgrimage?
According to the meeting held on Wednesday,
The government has decided to halt pilgrimage of local citizens & Saudi expats as well. This decision is made in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, the Civil Aviation Authority and other government agencies.
مصدر مسؤول بوزارة الداخلية: تقرر بناءً على توصية اللجنة المعنية بمتابعة مستجدات الوضع لفيروس كورونا الجديد (19-COVID)، بإيقاف العمرة مؤقتًا للمواطنين والمقيمين في المملكة، على أن يتم مراجعة هذا القرار بشكل مستمر وإيقاف العمل به متى ما انتفت الأسباب التي دعت إليه. pic.twitter.com/ycBE0LR110
— وزارة الداخلية (@MOISaudiArabia) March 4, 2020
What is the Reaction of Higher Authorities on this Ban?
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that they support Saudi Arabia’s actions to protect pilgrims and visitors from corona virus. The Egyptian Dar Al-Iftaa also said,
Saudi Arabia’s decision to temporarily suspend Umrah visas over the corona virus outbreak was in accordance with Sharia law.
Is There Any Case of Corona-virus Reported in Saudi Arabia?
Yes, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Saudi Arabia on Monday. The Ministry of Health announced the detection of the first coronavirus case of a Saudi national traveling from Iran to the Kingdom through Bahrain. According to corona virus watchdog committee of Saudi Arabia the patient has fully recovered from the disease and is out of danger now. According to health minister Dr Taufeeq Al Bariya
Saudi citizens and foreigners need not to worry about the emerging corona virus. Effective measurements are made for its treatment.
Does all Visa Holders are Banned from Visiting the Kingdom?
The Saudi authorities have clarified that passengers holding the following visas will be exempted from the travel restriction ban in the kingdom. They are,
- Employment visa.
- Work visit visa.
- Business visit visa.
- Family visit visa.
Is ban Applied on the Multiple Re-entry Visit Visa Holders?
According to the Directorate General of Passports,
The holders of multiple re-entry visit visas, who left the Kingdom, can re-enter the country at a condition that they did not visit any of the countries affected by the Corona virus during the period of two weeks before their arrival in the Kingdom.
The Implication of Ban on National ID Holders and GCC Citizens
Saudi Arabia has suspended the use of the national identity card by Saudi national and citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to travel to and from the Kingdom. However, there are exceptions to the ban,
- Saudis who are abroad and wish to return home if their exit from the Kingdom was with the national identity card are exempted
- Citizens of the GCC countries currently inside the Kingdom who wish to return to their countries if their entry was with the national identity card can travel freely.
Which Countries are Restricted to Travel on a Tourist Visa to the Kingdom?
The tourism visa has been suspended for all passengers and airline crew coming from countries such as
|1). Afghanistan||2). Azerbaijan||3). China||4). Chinese Taipei|
|5). Hong Kong||6). India||7). Indonesia||8). Iran|
|9). Iraq||10). Italy||11). Japan||12). Kazakhstan|
|13). Lebanon||14). Macao||15). Malaysia||16).Pakistan|
|17). Philippines||18). Singapore||19). Somalia||20). South Korea|
|21). Syria||22). Thailand||23). Uzbekistan||24). Yemen|
For How Long These Restrictions on Various Visa Holders will Continue?
Saudi officials stressed that the restrictions are temporary and will be continuously reviewed by the health authorities. The Foreign Ministry urged citizens not to travel to the country’s worst affected by the corona virus.
Also, The Saudi Ministry of Health has been providing neighboring Arab countries with advice and guidelines for controlling infectious diseases such as the corona virus and dealing with health emergencies. Dr. Hani bin Abdul Aziz Jokhdar, the deputy minister of public health, said that
The guidelines were based on Saudi Arabia’s experience of protecting the health and well-being of pilgrims during Hajj season.
We wish a speedy recovery to all those affected and pray that no one comes in the circle of corona virus. Take precautions and stay away from the crowd to remain healthy. For further updates regarding the biggest threat of2020 stay tuned with us.