Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia suspends Umrah, visit visas

Ghughuti Bulletin

MUMBAI: As a precautionary measure and to prevent spread of
Saudi Arabia has suspended all
umrah and visit visas from today.

While Haj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is an annual ritual, Umrah or minor haj is performed through the year.

Haj and umrah tour operators who have their batches of pilgrims already in Saudi Arabia or had planned to take pilgrims soon said that they would incur huge losses as the visits are being cancelled.

“According to the Saudi ministry of Haj and Umrah, all Umrah and visit visas have been suspended. We have around 150 pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and another batch of 150 pilgrims are expected to fly on Saturday. Airlines’ tickets and hotels are booked. All will have to be cancelled,” said
Yusuf Ahmed Khereda of Al Khalid Tours and Travels.

Afzal Patel of Atlas Tours and Travels said that out of around five lakh Umrah pilgrims who are at a time in Saudi Arabia from around the world, around 50, 000 must be from India. ‘Umrah pilgrims through my company leave for Saudi everyday in a week and I have 500 pilgrims already in Saudi. We will face huge crisis if the suspension order lasts long,” said Patel.

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