US asks its army in Saudi Arabia to avoid crowded venues amid coronavirus alert

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the only countries around the Gulf not to have reported coronavirus infections so far

Reuters February 28, 2020
Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the only countries around the Gulf not to have reported coronavirus infections so far. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

DUBAI: The United States asked its military in Saudi Arabia to avoid crowded venues including malls and cinemas as coronavirus was reported spreading in neighbouring countries, according to a document from the US embassy seen by Reuters on Friday.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the only countries around the Gulf not to have reported coronavirus infections so far. Iran, on the other side of the Gulf, is the Middle Eastern country most affected by the disease with 34 dead so far.

On Thursday, suspended foreigners’ entry for the Umrah pilgrimage and tourism from countries including Pakistan where the new coronavirus has spread, as a growing number of cases outside China deepened fears of a pandemic.

Saudi Arabia offers visa on arrival to Pakistanis

The kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites of Islam in Makkah and Madina, welcomes millions of Muslim visitors throughout the year with a peak for the hajj pilgrimage. It introduced a new tourism visa last October for 49 countries.

The kingdom, which hosts the two holiest sites of Islam in Makkah and Madina, welcomes millions of Muslim visitors throughout the year with a peak for the hajj pilgrimage. It introduced a new tourism visa last October for 49 countries.

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