Umrah pilgrims offloaded following ban by Saudi Arabia amid coronavirus threat


KARACHI|: Following the temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims by Saudi Arabia in an attempt to ensure public safety by preventing the spread of coronavirus, several pilgrims were offloaded by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and other private airlines, ARY News reported on Thursday.

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.

The passengers were offloaded by the flights at various airports of the country. A Jeddah-bound flight of the PIA, PK-747 carrying 133 Umrah pilgrims was stopped from take-off from the Karachi airport. Notices have been placed at various airports in this context.

People in large numbers are currently present the various airports after being offloaded by the airlines. Earlier on Thursday, the KSA placed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus.

It is one of a number of precautionary restrictions announced by KSA as health authorities in the Kingdom closely monitor the spread of the virus. Tourist-visa holders from countries judged to pose a particularly high risk of spreading the virus will also be denied entry.

Health authorities at entry points will verify which countries travelers visited before arriving in Saudi Arabia and apply all necessary precautionary measures.


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