Saudi Arabia is implementing a temporary travel ban on foreign nationals with pilgrimage and tourist visas as a safety measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says the travel restriction covers umrah visa holders and tourist visa holders from countries “judged to pose a particularly high risk” of spreading the potentially deadly Covid-19 disease. 

According to reports, Saudi Arabia has suspended the umrah pilgrimage, which attracts millions of Muslims globally each year.

Umrah refers to the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, considered to be Islam’s holiest city.

The announcement comes days after Saudi Arabia confirmed its first case of the coronavirus.

According to AFP, the virus has spread to more than 80 countries and infected more 95,000 people after first emerging in Wuhan, China.

The global death toll from the virus stands at more than 3,200.

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