Riyadh Image Credit: Agency

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended entry to the kingdom for the purpose of Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque in response to the global coronavirus outbreak.

The Saudi Press Agency has reported that entry has also been suspended for those coming from countries in which the spread of the virus is a danger, based on health authority criteria.

Saudi nationals and GCC citizens are also temporarily suspended from using national identity cards to travel to and from the kingdom. Exceptions to this suspension include Saudi nationals abroad wishing to return who exited the kingdom using the national identity card, and GCC citizens in Saudi Arabia who wish to return to their countries and had entered using the national identity card.

The national identity card stipulation is for “the concerned authorities at the entry points to verify from which countries visitors came before their arrival to the kingdom, and apply health precautions to deal with those coming from those countries,” the SPA report said.

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Saudi authorities also called on citizens not to travel to countries where the new coronavirus is spreading.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that health authorities are closely following the developments of the spread of the virus.

“The Ministry affirms the keenness of the kingdom’s government through those authorities to implement the approved international standards and support the efforts of countries and international organizations, especially the World Health Organization, to stop the spread of the virus, control it and eliminate it,” the SPA report said.

“The kingdom affirms that these procedures are temporary, and subject to continuous evaluation by the competent authorities.

“The kingdom renews its support for all international measures taken to limit the spread of the virus.”