No Saudi visas to Covid-19 states, Umrah ban okay

By Eudore R. Chand

RIYADH 29 February 2020: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism announced on Friday that it has temporarily stopped issuing tourist visas to people in certain countries particularly those badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The affected nations are China, Italy, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Kazakhstan. The decision applies both to electronic visas obtained online and traditional visas issued upon arrival. In addition, tourist visas previously issued to residents of the listed countries will be temporarily suspended.

Tourist visas will still be available electronically or upon arrival to citizens of other qualifying countries, but as a precaution they will not be allowed to visit Makkah or Madinah.

The Ministry of Tourism said that the restrictions were designed to protect citizens, residents and tourists, in line with recommendations from health authorities.

“These procedures are temporary and are subject to continuous evaluation by the competent authorities,” a spokesman for the ministry said.

Suspension of Umrah visas goes with Sharia: Al Azhar

CAIRO: Al Azhar has commended the precautionary and preventive measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to prevent the spread of Coronavirus among Muslims wishing to perform Umrah.

In a statement carried by Saudi Press Agency, Al Azhar ruled that “These measures are permissible, legitimate and rewarded. Rather, they are a legal duty to protect people.”


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Dubai Gazette