File picture of the Kaaba in Mecca Saudi Arabia - It is not a current picture

Saudi Arabia suspends Umrah for domestic pilgrims

The Saudi’s have banned foreigners from entering Saudi Arabia for Umrah and has now imposed a blanket ban on the religious activity

Saudi Arabia says Wednesday it is suspending all Umrah pilgrimages as it reports its second case of the coronavirus.

This means the year-round Umrah pilgrimage to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah are not suspended.

The ban, imposed on foreigners from a list of countries, now applies to Saudi nationals and expatriates, the Interior Ministry said.

Foreign nationals and expats who are abroad are also under the ban.

The Kingdom imposed a ban last week on overseas pilgrims visiting the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah. 

After the discovery of the second infection in Saudi Arabia, the authorities say it not “suspend umrah temporarily for citizens and residents in the kingdom”.

INFECTION FROM IRAN

Iran is the epicentre of the outbreak of the virus in the Middle East.

The second person infected crossed the causeway from Bahrain without disclosing that he had visited Iran,

Saudi authorities quarantined 70 people who came in contact with the patient. It says 51 of them tested negative for the virus.

A 16-year-old student of an Indian school in Dubai has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Two dozen members of the Iranian Parliament are also infected.

At least 15 other current or former top figures are also infected, according to official reports.

Among them are a vice president, a deputy health minister, and an adviser to the head of the judiciary.

The virus has also killed an adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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