Saudi Arabia halts pilgrimages over virus, Iran says 26 dead

Saudi Arabia, Mecca, Hajj, Umrah, Religious Tourism

Coronavirus fatalities in Iran jump to at least 26 as Saudi Arabia halts pilgrimages and Bahrain extends travel bans in face of Mideast outbreak

Saudi Arabia, Mecca

2/27/2020

Coronavirus fatalities in Iran jump to at least 26 as Saudi Arabia halts pilgrimages and Bahrain extends travel bans in face of Mideast outbreak

The extraordinary decision by Saudi Arabia stops foreigners from reaching the holy city of Mecca and the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure the world's 1.8 billion Muslims pray toward five times a day.

An aerial view of Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 12, 2019. (Umit Bektas / Reuters) Saudi Arabia on Thursday halted travel to the holiest sites in Islam over fears about a viral epidemic just months ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, a move that came as the Mideast has over 300 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. The decision also affected travel to Prophet Muhammad's mosque in Medina. Authorities also suspended entry to the kingdom to those with tourist visas from nations affected by the new virus. The decision showed the worry about the outbreak potentially spreading into Saudi Arabia, whose oil-rich monarchy stakes its legitimacy on protecting Islam's holy sites. This map shows the concentration of coronavirus cases, as of 0900 GMT on February 27, 2020. (TRTWorld) Iran, the Middle East cluster The epicentre in the Mideast's most-affected country, Iran, appears to be in the holy Shia city of Qom, where the faithful in reverence reach out to kiss and touch a famous shrine. Iran now has the highest death toll from the virus — 26 dead from among 245 confirmed cases — outside of China, where the outbreak began. The tiny, oil-rich nation of Kuwait announced a sudden jump to 43 cases from 26 on Thursday as well, all linked to travellers who recently came from Iran. Experts are concerned Iran may be underreporting cases and deaths, given the illness' rapid spread from Iran across the Persian Gulf. For example, Iran still has not confirmed any cases in Mashhad, even though a number of cases reported in Kuwait are linked to the Iranian city. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said there were no immediate plans to quarantine cities but acknowledged it may take “one, two or three weeks” to get control of the virus in Iran. As Iran’s 80 million people find themselves increasingly isolated in the region by the outbreak, the country’s sanctions-battered economy saw its currency slump to its lowest level against the US dollar in a year on Wednesday. Past outbreaks in Saudi Arabia There have been no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Saudi Arabia amid the outbreak. “Saudi Arabia renews its support for all international measures to limit the spread of this virus, and urges its citizens to exercise caution before travelling to countries experiencing coronavirus outbreaks,” the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement announcing the decision. “We ask God Almighty to spare all humanity from all harm.” Disease outbreaks always have been a concern surrounding the hajj, required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life, especially as pilgrims come from all over the world. The earliest recorded outbreak came in 632 as pilgrims fought off malaria. A cholera outbreak in 1821 for instance killed an estimated 20,000 pilgrims. Another cholera outbreak in 1865 killed 15,000 pilgrims and then spread worldwide. More recently, Saudi Arabia faced the danger from another coronavirus, one that caused the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, which jumped from ill camels to humans. The kingdom increased its public health measures during the hajj in 2012 and 2013, though no outbreaks occurred amid the pilgrimage. Since September 2012, there have been nearly 2,500 cases of MERS reported, with 858 deaths attributed to the virus, according to the World Health Organization. Since it emerged in December in central China, the new coronavirus has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths. While millions attend the hajj, which is this year set for late July into early August, millions more come during the rest of the year to the holy sites in the kingdom. Those other pilgrimages are referred to as the umrah. One of the biggest times for the umrah is the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, which is set to begin at the end of April. “It is unprecedented, at least in recent times, but given the worldwide spread of the virus and the global nature of the umrah, it makes sense from a public health and safety point of view,” said Kristian Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. “Especially since the Iranian example illustrates how a religious crossroads can so quickly amplify the spread and reach of the virus.” But by leaving the suspension of travel to the holy sites open-ended, Saudi Arabia has opened the possibility of this year's hajj potentially being disrupted as well. Bahrain's cases In Bahrain, which confirmed 33 cases as of Thursday morning, authorities halted all flights to Iraq and Lebanon. It separately extended a 48-hour ban over flights from Dubai and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, through which infected travellers reached the island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Iraq gets sixth case Iraq's Health Ministry on Thursday announced the first coronavirus case in the capital, Baghdad, bringing the overall number of cases reported in the country to six. All have been linked to Iran. Iraq has taken drastic measures to stem the spread, including ordering schools and universities closed for 10 days, starting Thursday. The government also banned public gatherings and ordered the closures of cinemas, cafes, clubs and other social forums for the same period. It wasn't immediately clear whether the ban of public gatherings would include anti-government protest sites such as Baghdad’s landmark Tahrir Square, where demonstrators have been staging a sit-in for months. Source: AFP Read more: TRT World

Saudi Arabia halts pilgrimages over virus; Iran says 22 dead Saudi Arabia has halted travel to Islam's holiest sites over fears about a new viral epidemic months ahead of the hajj pilgrimage JustTheFlu The media, the CDC and the Federal Government really botched this one. This is going to be a rough year. Hold on everyone, its going to be a bumpy and deadly ride this spring and summer...🤮🤢🤮🥶😭👹👿😈👹👿💀💀💀👻👺👹👿😈👻💀👻💀💀💀 This is fake news!

U.S. Forces Return to Saudi Arabia to Deter Attacks by IranNearly 17 years after U.S. troops largely pulled up stakes from Saudi Arabia , the U.S. is back, launching F-15 fighter jets and manning Patriot missile batteries at a base southeast of Riyadh, despite extremism that flared last time the kingdom hosted American forces. Flip Flop Flip Flop Trump Flop How does defending the nation that attacked us on 11 Sep 2001 'make America great again'? How many illegal immigrants could those 2500 personnel keep out of the US? fakenationalemergency lol 'despite.' always a 'but' when it comes to realDonaldTrump... Trump2020 USA

Saudi Arabia halts pilgrimages over virusLATEST: Saudi Arabia halts pilgrimages over coronavirus. If they only had an all mighty god to protect them.... Oh wait! Coronavirus cases jump to 1,766 in South Korea. Perhaps Saudi needs to call 45 and ket him know to cancel his rally

Saudi Arabia halts travel to Islam's holiest site over virusDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia on Thursday halted travel to the holiest sites in Islam over fears about a viral epidemic just months ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, a move... I bet inside that black box is one of the world’s biggest cons humanity has ever seen Good decision. its a new strain of flu.. sars had a higher% of death .. i say its a lab made germ to weed out the old people..

Saudi Arabia suspends entry for pilgrims over coronavirusThe Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca , Umrah , attracts tens of thousands of devout Muslims from all over the globe each month. Understandable. Any Chinese food or any hot soup (or hot pot) sounds good to me right now. But I can only get my food from select locations. Also no great Chinese restaurants where I am Just imgaine millions that visit on monthly basis. Both locally and internationally. There would be ultimate chaos and nowhere to pinpoint the origin. Money won't bring people back and Money can always come back. The largest congregation of Muslims, Hajj, will be a major test case for all Muslim (/majority) countries esp Saudi govt…due to the fears of CoronaVirusOutbreak. I think so... there's room in Islam to avoid pilgrimage till cure is not available. Hope every1 is safe. Hajj2020

Saudi Arabia Suspends Entry For Annual Umrah Pilgrimage Amid Coronavirus ConcernsOver 6 million Muslims traveled to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah pilgrimage in 2017. huffs Better And how many are using multi-media for evil means?



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