Coronavirus Outbreak: Saudi Arabia Bans Foreign Pilgrims

Coronavirus Outbreak: Saudi Arabia Bans Foreign Pilgrims

By Agency Reports on February 27, 2020
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Abubukar S-Pawa, Kaura-Namoda, Ayuba Azare, Fadimatu Sani Makaranta
Hundreds of thousands of Muslim pilgrims make their way to cast stones at a pillar symbolizing the stoning of Satan, in a ritual called "Jamarat," the last rite of the annual hajj, on the first day of Eid al-Adha, in Mina near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia | AP

Saudi Arabia has taken the unprecedented step of banning foreign religious pilgrims from visiting the kingdom in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca—the holiest city for Muslims—is taken by millions of devout followers from around the world every year.

It can be undertaken at any time of year, but most make their journey during the annual hajj pilgrimage, which is due to start in late July.

Saudi authorities on Thursday, February 27, 2020, gave no indication how long the ban will last—only saying it would temporarily suspend giving out tourist visas “for those coming from countries in which the spread of the new coronavirus is a danger.”

Saudi Arabia has not confirmed any cases of the virus so far.

Meanwhile, in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asked for all elementary, junior high, and high schools across the country to close from Monday until April. Virus cases are surging in Japan, exceeding 200 as of Thursday.

Hattip to The Guardian

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