Saudi Arabia has placed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims in an attempt to ensure public safety for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a tweet said, “Entry to the country for the purpose of Umrah (pilgrimage) and/or visiting the Prophet’s mosque in Medina is temporarily suspended. #CoronaVirus”. The statement further says, “Saudi Arabia is suspending entry into the kingdom with tourist visas for those coming from countries in which the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is a danger”.
The health authorities in the Saudi Kingdom is closely monitoring the spread of Coronavirus. The move from the Saudi government follows the confirmation of two coronavirus cases in Pakistan on Wednesday evening. All airlines had directed to inform their passengers to wait for further orders.
In addition, Saudi nationals and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council nations will not be able to use a national identity card to travel to and from the Kingdom for the time being. Exceptions to this shall be granted to Saudis returning home.
These measures come at a time when there has been an increase in the number of cases in the Middle East. Mostly Umrah pilgrims belong to the Middle Eastern countries. Most of the individuals infected had travelled from Iran which has the highest reported death toll after China.
Coronavirus spreading widely around the world
The coronavirus outbreak has already killed more than 2,700 people, most of them in China. It has so far spread to about 29 other countries. The number of confirmed cases has risen above 80,000 worldwide.
The coronavirus is believed to have originated in a market selling wildlife in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The situation is alarming in most of the Middle Eastern countries. However, several European countries also announced more than 300 cases in the region.
Most of the cases are reported from Italy. It is the most infected region in Europe, representing a 25% surge in the last 24 hours. Also on Wednesday, WHO said that for the first time the virus was spreading faster outside China.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
The virus can cause pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The antiviral drugs against flu will not work in this case. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system.
Precautions for Coronavirus
- Wash your hands with soap with clean and running water.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue, when you cough or sneeze.
- Face masks offer some protection as they block liquid droplets.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products. Exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs.
- Drink plenty of water.