Saudi Arabia on Wednesday suspended temporarily the Umrah pilgrimage and visit to the Prophet’s Mosque for Saudi citizens and expatriates in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Interior, the decision was taken in line with recommendation of a committee saddled with the responsibility of following up with the developments on COVID-19 in the Kingdom.
The concerned authorities would continuously review the decision and will withdraw whenever it found that the reasons for the suspension were disappeared, the statement said.
Recall that 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.
As part of the precautionary measures, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had suspended temporarily Umrah visas for all countries and tourism visas for 22 countries effective from last Thursday.
The authorities have clarified that passengers holding employment visa, work visit visa, business visit visa and family visit visa are exempted from the travel restrictions.
The Council of Ministers on Tuesday emphasized that the precautionary measures that the Kingdom has taken against Coronavirus to ensure maximum safety of citizens, expatriates as well as pilgrims and visitors.
“The measures were taken in order to complement the efforts aimed at providing the utmost protection to the safety of citizens, residents and all those coming to the Kingdom’s territories to perform Umrah, visiting the Prophet’s Mosque or for tourism,” the Council said in a statement.
The Cabinet also hailed the efforts made by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, the Civil Aviation Authority and other government agencies to contain the virus, follow up on any economic repercussions and make the necessary arrangements to deal with it.