The Saudi government has announced a temporary ban of the 2020 Umrah (the lesser hajj) as a precautionary measure against the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) globally.
Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Ghana, His Excellency Meshal Hamdan Al-Rogi who made the announcement said, the ban is also to protect Saudi citizens, residents, and pilgrims already in the country.
He has also clarified that this year’s Hajj has neither been postponed nor cancelled.
Other precautionary steps
Based on the recommendations of the competent health authorities, the Saudi Kingdom has adopted the following preventive measures to avert a possible outbreak of the Coronavirus.
1. Suspending entry to the Kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque temporarily.
2. Suspending entry into the Kingdom with tourist visas for those coming from countries in the spread of the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a danger according to the criteria determined by the competent health authorities in the Kingdom and
3. Temporal suspension of entry of citizens of the Golf Cooperation Council to the cities of Makkah and Madina except for citizens who have been in the Kingdom for 14 consecutive days and did not show signs of Coronavirus
The Ambassador commended the Pilgrims Affairs Office of Ghana (PAOG) and the National Hajj Board for their media intervention on this matter as it first broke and the tremendous improvement in the organisation of Hajj in Ghana in recent times.
He stressed the readiness of the Saudi Embassy to facilitate the acquisition of hajj visas and other related matters with dispatch.
His Excellency Meshal Hamdan Al-Rogi, promised to liaise and communicate with the relevant Ghanaian authorities any changes in Saudi government policy or directives in so far as this matter of the spread of the coronavirus concerned especially as it relates to trips to Saudi Arabia.
Global statistics for affected persons of the virus have surpassed 110,000 with over 4,000 deaths, majority of which occurred in China.
source: National Hajj Communication Dir
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