Saudi Arabia’s government will refund umrah visa fees and service charges for would-be pilgrims, due to the suspension of entry for foreigners, Ministry of Hajj confirms.

Pilgrim in Umrah and Prophet’s mosque in Madinah have been cancelled for tourists in a bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus from foreigners’ travellers arriving in the country, VisaGuide.World reports.

All the foreigners who have refund claims for visa fees and service charges have to contact the local Umrah agents in their countries.

The latest decision of Saudi Arabia to suspend the entry for Umrah pilgrims affects the haj pilgrimage, that was expected to be held in late July.

Within a year holiest Islamic places, Mecca and Medina host millions of Muslims for the pilgrimage. Last year, in October, a new tourist visa for 49 countries was introduced by Saudi Arabia.

Although cases of coronavirus infection in Saudi Arabia have not been registered, the increasing number of overseas peoples infected by the deadly virus around the world caused fear to this country for the pandemic.

Last week Saudi Arabia reported that they have suspended entry for countries in which the spread of coronavirus has increased, including China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.

The number of foreigners in Saudi Arabia was expected to increase in April this year when the holy month of Ramadan starts, while over 7.5 million foreign visitors came to see Mecca and Medina last year.

More than 2 million pilgrims were interested in visiting Saudi Arabia in late July, this year, due to the week-long haj.

Saudi Arabia aims to bring the annual number of foreigners up to 100 million, in 2030.

Even though the suspension of visas is temporary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not put expiry date of this decision in their statement.

So far, 96,268 cases of coronavirus infection are marked, and up to 3,000 have died so far.

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