Saudi Arabia suspends entry for Umrah and Tourism

Riyadh – Saudi Arabia on Thursday suspended foreigners’ entry for the Umrah pilgrimage and tourism from countries where the new coronavirus has spread, as a growing number of cases outside China deepened fears of a pandemic.

The kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina, welcomes millions of Muslim visitors throughout the year with a peak for the haj pilgrimage. It introduced a new tourism visa last October for 49 countries.

Entry is also suspended for visits to Masjid Nabawi in Medina.

Saudi Arabia has had no cases of the coronavirus but it has been spreading in some neighbouring countries.