Saudi Arabia suspends pilgrim visas over Coronavirus

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has suspended visas for pilgrims wishing to visit Mecca.

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The move was part of attempts to curb the spread of coronavirus to the kingdom, AFP reports.

The foreign ministry said on Thursday it suspended entry to the kingdom for the purpose of Umrah (lesser hajj) and visiting the Prophet’s mosque.

It said it was also suspending visas for tourists visiting from countries where the new virus is a “danger”.

Even as the number of fresh cases has declined at the epicentre of the disease in China, there has been a sudden increase in parts of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Iran has emerged as a major hotspot in the region, where 15 people have succumbed to the disease, officially known as COVID-19.

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The Gulf states of Kuwait and Bahrain have also announced additional cases this week. AFP
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