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Saudi Arabia Halts Pilgrimages to Mecca Due to Coronavirus

The city of Mecca, which able-bodied Muslims are called to visit at least once in their lives, and the Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina, were cut off to millions of pilgrims, with Saudi Arabia making the extraordinary decision to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Tourism visa-holders from countries with reported coronavirus infections will also be denied entry, the Saudi embassy in Washington said in a statement, without naming any country. The steps are reportedly subject to continuous evaluation. With the monarchy offering no firm date for the lifting of the restrictions, it posed the possibility of affecting those planning to make their hajj, a ritual beginning at the end of July this year. The government is acting to block the deadly virus as neighboring countries including Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates have flagged dozens of cases. No infections had been reported by Saudi Arabian authorities as of late last week. (VFI News)