SAUDI ARAB: Saudi Arab’s decision to halt the Umrah pilgrimage over the fear of ‘coronavirus’ outbreak has shocked hundreds of Muslim devotees across the world.
The interior ministry said on Wednesday the Kindom has suspended year-round umrah pilgrimage to the Holy cities of Makkah and Madina over growing fears of COVID-19 outbreak.
The Umrah has been suspended for citizens and residents temporarily. The decision comes after the Kingdome of Saudi Arab suspended the entry of six national Gulf Cooperation Council citizens from entering Makkah and Madina.
Deputy Minister Hajj and Umrah Abdulaziz Wazzan said in a statement this is the first time Umrah has been suspended completely.
He added Umrah is a non-obligatory ritual and the Kingdom has not put any restrictions on the obligatory Hajj pilgrimage. The Hajj pilgrimage will begin at the end of July this year.
Statement by Al-Azhar
Al-Azhar said, in a statement today, “These measures are permissible, legitimate and rewarded. Rather, they are a legal duty to protect people.”
The temporary ban on the entry to the Holy cities of Makkah and Madina until further notice is a precautionary measure. The world has witnessed the outbreak of deadly coronavirus and the extreme preventive measures being taken around the world.
Saudi Arab intends to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus over its territories particularly the two Holy Mosques.