As Coronavirus spreads, Saudi Arabia has temporary halted entry for visitors wishing to visit the holy sites. As millions of Muslims from all over the world visit Makkah and Medina on a regular basis to perform Umrah, the Saudi government has decided to suspend visas for entering the Kingdom to avoid the virus from spreading uncontrollably.
While the restrictions for entry are temporary, it is still unknown how long the visas will be suspended or when it will be possible to perform Umrah again. With Ramadan around the corner and many people taking the holy month as an opportunity to perform Umrah, it is still undecided whether the ban will prevent that from being an option. It is also unclear if this restriction will affect the Hajj pilgrimage in July.
Saudi Arabia has also suspended visas for tourists from countries with confirmed cases of the virus as health authorities in the country observed the latest developments of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Unfortunately, that means that even those who have already purchased tickets or arrive in Saudi Arabia hoping to be granted a visa on arrival, will be sent back.
Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the virus was spreading faster outside China with more than 80,000 people in about 40 countries infected with the new coronavirus.
Unfortunately, almost 2,800 people have been killed as a result of coronavirus, making it a necessary precaution to take from the Saudi government.