Saudi government suspends pilgrimages to Mecca amid coronavirus spread

In a preemptive measure to prevent further outbreaks of the coronavirus, Saudi Arabia has suspended pilgrimages to Mecca, where the Kaaba is located – the holiest site in the world to Muslims. Citizens of the kingdom have access to Mecca. It’s only those participating in Umrah who are temporarily restricted.

Just two days ago, Saudi Arabia confirmed its first case of the virus after avoiding it, which is impressive seeing as how the country experiencing the second most cases and deaths in the world is located just to the northeast, Iran. Several gulf countries have confirmed cases of the virus from people who recently came from Iran such as Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman. Saudi Arabia’s first case came from an individual who recently travelled to Iran as well.

Additionally, people are temporarily unable to visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, the second holiest site to Islam.