Mecca and Medina holy sites protected from coronavirus

Mecca and Medina holy sites protected from coronavirus

Saudi Arabia reopened two its holy religious sites, Al-Haram Mosque in Mecca and Al-Masjid al Nabawy in Medina, after they were closed for sterilisation to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

It was not clear from the Al-Ekhbariya report if pilgrims would be allowed to return to the sites.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia suspended the umrah, or minor pilgrimage, for its own citizens and residents over fears of the coronavirus spreading to Islam’s holiest cities.

It came after the kingdom last week closed the sites to foreign pilgrims and traditional tourists from some 25 countries to stop the spread of the virus. It also said that citizens and residents of Gulf Cooperation Council countries wishing to enter must wait 14 days after returning from outside the region.

Saudi Arabia has reported five cases of the coronavirus.