Saudi Arabia suspends entry for Umrah pilgrims

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Tourists and Umrah pilgrims from Bangladesh and among dozens of countries, will not be able to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Saudi foreign ministry issued a statement in this regard on Thursday.

“Suspending entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque is temporary,” the foreign ministry of Saudi Arabia tweeted.

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

The step comes ahead of Ramadan, which begins in late April this year, when visits by Muslims to the kingdom accelerate for Umrah. More than 7.5 million people performed the minor pilgrimage in the birthplace of Islam throughout 2019, reports Reuters citing official figures.

Some 2 million pilgrims are expected in late July for the week-long Hajj, the world’s largest annual gathering of Muslims.

Pilgrims from all over Bangladesh had arrived to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Thursday morning to catch flights to Saudi Arabia, only to return home.

However, Bangladeshi workers who want to go to Saudi Arabia for employment purposes would face no problem entering the country.