KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended the entrance of pilgrims for Umrah activity and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque as proactive preventive measures to prevent the arrival of COVID-19 to the Kingdom, said its Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.
Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that the Kingdom is also temporarily suspending entrance for those coming with tourist visas from countries with confirmed Coronavirus outbreaks, according to criteria established by Saudi health authorities.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry affirmed the Kingdom’s resolve in combatting the spread of the virus through the relevant health authorities, by applying international standards and by supporting the efforts of countries and international organisations in their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, especially the World Health Organization (WHO).
The suspension also afffects the use of national identity cards (instead of passports) for travel to and from the Kingdom.
“Exceptions will be allowed for Saudi nationals who left Saudi Arabia by using their national identity cards, or citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council countries wishing to return from Saudi Arabia after entering with their national identity cards,” it said.
Saudi Arabia stressed that all these measures are temporary, and is subject to continuous evaluation by the relevant authorities.
The Kingdom also renewed its support for all international measures to limit the spread of the virus, and urged its citizens to exercise caution before travelling to countries experiencing the COVID-19 outbreaks.