The kingdom has reported 10 deaths among 1,563 cases of coronavirus, which has infected some 800,000 people globally and killed more than 38,000. The numbers of the spread of the global pandemic keeps increasing.
So events and areas with large gatherings such as the smaller, year-round Umrah pilgrimage has been suspended till further notice, international passenger flights have been stopped indefinitely and just last week blocked entry and exit to several cities, including Mecca and Medina.
The biggest of all is the likely postponement of Hajj, the largest annual gathering of Muslims with an attendance of about 2.5 pilgrims from around the world . It was scheduled to begin in late July, but in bid to inhibit the further spread of the corona pandemic questions have been raised about the viability of it still holding given the risk of spreading the disease further in large gatherings .
A large part of the Kingdom’s revenue is from the pilgrimage and stopping it may affect the Kingdom on a large scale.
The Minister for Hajj and Umrah said on state TV on tuesday that Saudi Arabia has asked Muslims to wait until there is more clarity about the coronavirus pandemic before planning to attend the annual Hajj pilgrimage.