Saudi Arabia: Countries ponder boycotting Hajj over Coronavirus

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The Saudi Arabian Government has disclosed that some countries have begun looking at the possibility of preventing their nationals from attending the coming Hajj following the spread of coronavirus epidemic.

This was contained in a statement made available by the Saudi Arabian embassy in Abuja on Friday.

The Saudi Arabian Government had on Thursday halted the issuance of Umrah visas to foreign nationals, saying it was aimed at preventing people affected by the virus from visiting the Holy Sites and further spreading the infection.

The statement also noted that the Kingdom Saudi Arabia has not recorded any case of the infection but is acting according to its responsibility to protect the health of all those who visit the Kingdom for Umrah or other purposes.

“The objective of halting Umrah visas is basically to prevent people affected by Covid-19 from coming to the holy site. This is meant to prevent the spread of the infection.

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” The relevant authorities of the Kingdom made this decision arising from their responsibility to protect the health of the pilgrims and to keep them away from every ill. The decision is subject to continuous review in the light of new developments and world medical reports.

“Some countries have from now begun to look into the possibility of preventing their nationals from attending the coming Hajj season after discovering Covid – 19 in these countries as a step aimed at containing the spread of the disease and because of the realization of the danger in having it spread amongst human gathering”.

The statement further noted that the Kingdom in trying to ensure that the virus does not spread to it, has suspended entry for some countries due to the spread of the virus in the countries stressing that those procedures are temporary and is subject to continuous evaluation by competent authorities.

It therefore calls on its citizens not to travel to countries where the virus is spreading and also reaffirmed support for all international measures taken to limit the spread of the virus.

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