Saudi Arabia Bans Citizens From Mecca Pilgrimage Over Virus Fears

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Fears over the brand new coronavirus outbreak within the Mideast disrupted the follow of Islam itself within the area on Wednesday, as Saudi Arabia banned its residents and residents from performing the Muslim pilgrimage in Mecca and Iran canceled Friday prayers in main cities.

The Saudi choice expands a ban final week on foreigners visiting Mecca and Medina, dwelling to the holiest websites in Islam. In the meantime, authorities halted Friday prayers throughout all Iranian provincial capitals amid the nation’s rising coronavirus outbreak.

Friday is the principle congregational day of prayer in Islam, and historically an essential occasion for Iran’s clerical rulers. Tehran and different areas had canceled Friday prayers final week over the outbreak.

Iran earlier introduced that the brand new coronavirus has killed 92 individuals amid 2,922 confirmed instances throughout the Islamic Republic, the best dying toll on the planet exterior of China.

Well being Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour introduced the brand new figures at a information convention in Tehran, elevating Iran’s dying toll from the brand new sickness to larger than Italy’s, the place there has additionally been a severe spike in infections.

There at the moment are over 3,140 instances of the brand new virus throughout the Mideast. Of these exterior Iran within the area, most hyperlink again to the Islamic Republic.

The virus has sickened high leaders inside Iran’s civilian authorities and Shiite theocracy. Iran stands alone in how the virus has affected its authorities, even in comparison with hard-hit China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Worldwide, the virus has contaminated greater than 90,000 individuals and triggered over 3,100 deaths.

Specialists fear Iran could also be beneath reporting the variety of instances it has.

“The virus has no wings to fly,” Jahanpour stated. “We’re those who switch it to one another.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the meantime acknowledged that the virus was in practically all of Iran’s 31 provinces whereas talking at a Cupboard assembly Wednesday.

“This illness is a widespread one,” he stated, in accordance with a transcript. “It encompasses nearly all of our provinces and is, in a way, a world illness that many nations on the planet have turn into contaminated with, and we should work collectively to deal with this downside as rapidly as doable.”

Saudi Arabia final week closed off the holiest websites in Islam to international pilgrims over the coronavirus, disrupting journey for hundreds of Muslims already headed to the dominion and probably affecting plans later this yr for tens of millions extra forward of the fasting month of Ramadan and the annual hajj pilgrimage.

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Related Press author Aya Batrawy in Dubai contributed.

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