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Saudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage due to Coronavirus

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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 Coronavirus, which emerged in December. Affecting people from New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, the primary outbreak has been recorded in various Middle-Eastern countries like Lebanon, Kuwait, and Iraq, etc.

However, the central hotspot for corona nowadays in Iran, with 245 cases and 26 deaths from it as confirmed. In light of these events, the Saudi Foreign Ministry, in coordination with the Saudi Ministry of Health, decided to put a temporary ban on Umrah Pilgrims. What are the conditions? Is there any exception to the prohibition? Read all the exclusive insights about the most significant hype of the day in the article below.

The Ban of Pilgrimage in 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 alert restrictions announced early on Thursday as health authorities in the Kingdom closely monitor the spread of the virus.

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 the Corona-virus. The Egyptian Dar Al-Iftaa also said,

Saudi Arabia’s decision to temporarily suspend Umrah visas over the Corona-virus outbreak was following Sharia law.

Is there Any Case of the Corona-virus Reported in Saudi Arabia?

The Saudi health ministry said again on Thursday that there were no known cases in the Kingdom. However, earlier, it emerged that seven (7) Saudis are among the latest Corona-virus cases in Bahrain and Kuwait. The Bahraini Ministry of Health on Wednesday said six (6) Saudi women have tested positive for the virus.

Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah says that,

There is no specific period for re-opening of Umrah visas at this stage. The Umrah suspension applies to ALL countries around the world with immediate effect.

Does all Visa Holders are Banned from Visiting the Kingdom?

The Saudi authorities have clarified that passengers holding the following Saudi visas will be exempted from the travel restriction ban in the Kingdom. they are,

  • Saudi Employment visa.
  • Saudi Work visit visa.
  • Saudi Business visit visa.
  • Saudi Family visit visa.

Is a Ban Applied to 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 two weeks before their arrival in the Kingdom.

The Implication of the Ban on National ID Holders and GCC Citizens

Saudi Arabia has suspended the use of the national identity card by Saudi federal 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 want to return to their countries if their entry was with the national identity card can travel freely.

Which Countries are Restricted from Traveling 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 the Hajj season.

We wish a speedy recovery to all those affected and pray that no one comes in the circle of the Coronavirus. Take precautions and stay away from the crowd to remain healthy. For further updates regarding the biggest threat of2020, stay tuned with us.

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