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Saudi Arabia temporarily imposes travel ban on domestic pilgrims from Umrah over coronavirus fears

Riyadh: Amid reports of coronavirus in the country, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday imposed a temporarily travel ban on its own citizens from performing Umrah.

The Kingdom had restricted on overseas pilgrims visiting the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

The aim is to “limit the spread of the coronavirus and prevent its access to the Two Holy Mosques, which are witnessing permanent and intense crowds, which makes the issue of securing these crowds of utmost importance,” a spokesperson of the Saudi Interior Ministry told Al Arabiya News.

The ban now applies to Saudi nationals and expatriates, the ministry said.

“Makkah is still open to visitors from across the Kingdom, the decision suspends only Umrah activities,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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