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Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia suspends entry of pilgrims

Saudi Arabia “temporarily” suspends the entry into its territory of pilgrims going to Mecca, in order to “prevent the arrival of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in the kingdom and its spread”, announced this Thursday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The holy city attracts tens of thousands of visitors every month. Riyadh has also suspended entry into the country of travelers on tourist visas from countries where the new coronavirus is rife, according to criteria to be set by health authorities.

Several Middle Eastern states – including some bordering Saudi Arabia – are affected by the coronavirus. This is particularly the case for Iran, the country with the highest number of deaths (19) after mainland China. The main focus is the city of Qom, a place of pilgrimage visited by Shiites from around the world.

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