TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The government of Saudi Arabia is temporarily suspending entry to the country for Umrah purposes and/or visits to the Nabawi Mosque in Medina. The policy is taken as precautionary measures to prevent the Coronavirus or COVID-19 to reach the kingdom.
Saudi also temporarily bans entry for tourist with visas issued by countries that have confirmed viral outbreak.
"The Kingdom affirms that these procedures are temporary, and is subject to continuous evaluation by the competent authorities," the Saudi Arabia Foreign Ministry posted to its Twitter account @KSAmofaEN on February 27.
The government also suspends the use of national identity cards—instead of passports—to travel to and from the Kingdom.
The ministry stated that exceptions are given to Saudi nationals who left the country using their national ID cards, and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Countries wishing to return from Saudi after entering the country with their national ID cards.
"The Kingdom renews its support for all international measures taken to limit the spread of the virus," the Twitter post also said, calling on citizens not to travel to countries where the virus is spreading.
There are currently around 77,000 cases of COVID-19 infection in 41 countries, the majority in mainland China. About 2,600 people have become fatalities of the respiratory infection that causes pneumonia.
FRANCISCA CHRISTY ROSANA