Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended entry of citizens from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to the Kingdom’s holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, over coronavirus fears, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The GCC is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries, which includes; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman, established in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May 1981.
Saudi Gazette reports that the ministry, however, noted that GCC citizens, who have been in the Kingdom for 14 consecutive days, and have not shown symptoms of coronavirus are exempted from the ban.
It added that those not affected can obtain a permit from the website of the Ministry of Hajj, to perform Umrah and visit the holy cities.
Saudi Arabia has reiterated that it is closely following developments with regard to the spread of the virus and its repercussions.
The precautionary measures, which have been taken, are being reviewed in view of new developments, and additional measures will be taken if the need arises, the country has stated.
The decision is said to be on the recommendations of competent health authorities, to apply the highest precautionary standards to detect the virus and prevent its spread locally and globally.
The kingdom has also made known its readiness to provide maximum degree of protection, as well as the application of safety standards, to preserve the health of visitors of the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque.