DUBAI: Dubai’s Emirates announced Thursday a temporary ban on carrying Umrah pilgrims and tourists from nearly two dozen countries to Saudi Arabia.
The announcement came after the Kingdom placed a temporary ban on pilgrims from entering the country to perform Umrah, in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Middle East countries have been implementing measures to protect their citizens and residents from the rising coronavirus cases.
The airline said these customers with tickets to Saudi Arabia as their final destination “will not be accepted for boarding at their point of origin until further notice.”
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The countries in the tourism visa restriction are: Hong Kong, Macau, China, Iran, Italy, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Singapore, India, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Somalia, and Vietnam.
The announcement also reiterated that Gulf travelers to and from the Kingdom are required to use their passports, instead of national identity cards.
Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.
The ban will remain under constant review by health authorities, according to Saudi officials.