Pilgrimage suspended over coronavirus fears

Saudi Arabia has suspended Hajj and Umrah to the country’s holiest sites Makkah and Medina over fears of the fast-spreading coronavirus which has left travel agents scrambling to rearrange bookings as pilgrims remain in the dark over how long the “temporary” ban might continue. 

Riyadh’s foreign ministry said it will suspend all entry for pilgrims heading to Makkah and Medina for Umrah, as the coronavirus, also known as COV-19, continued to spread across the Middle East.

Countries including Kuwait and Bahrain, where people have tested positive for coronavirus, and the kingdom “needs to take precautionary measures to protect pilgrims’ health”.

The new coronavirus is believed to have originated in a market selling wildlife in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has infected about 80,000 people and killed more than 2,700, the vast majority in China.

Please check with the tourist board before flying to any destination.

By Saafi Khan

Tags: bahrain, coronavirus, hajj, madina, oman, pilgrimage, saudi arabia, travel agents

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