Saudi Arabia reopens Mecca, Madinah holy sites after coronavirus closure

04:42 PM | 6 Mar, 2020
Saudi Arabia reopens Mecca, Madinah holy sites after coronavirus closure
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ISLAMABAD - The Saudi government reopened Masjid AL-Haram in Makkah and Masjid-i-Nabawi in Madinah after they were closed for sterilization to halt the spread of coronavirus on Friday.

According to the Gulf News and private news channels, the courtyard adjacent to Khana Ka’aba was got vacated from pilgrims and closed from the Esha prayers to Fajr prayers.

Saudi Arabia 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.

A day earlier, after the Esha prayers, the courtyard adjacent to Khana Ka’aba was got vacated from pilgrims and closed. As a result, ‘tawaaf’ stopped in the ‘mutaaf’.

Mufti Farooqul Qadri suggested that precautionary measures about health should be taken instead of closing Masjid AL-Haram.

Saudi Arabia had already banned pilgrimages to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina by foreigners to also include Saudi citizens and residents due to concerns about the new coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia last week halted umrah visas for foreigners and banned Gulf citizens from visiting the two holy cities because of the virus.

Saudi Arabia has reported five cases of the coronavirus. It was not clear from the Al-Ekhbariya report if pilgrims would be allowed to return to the sites.