Saudi Arabia bans DR Congo Hajj pilgrims over Ebola crisis

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According to Saudi Arabia Foreign Affairs ministry, issuance of visa to Congolese has been suspended for citizens of DR Congo aiming to undertake the annual pilgrimage, the hajj.

Saudi bans DR Congo Hajj pilgrims over Ebola fears

“The granting of arrivals visas for people entering from DR Congo has been stopped, to conserve the well being of pilgrims,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ebola was in mid-July declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). The outbreak is restricted to the east of the country where efforts are underway to contain and control it.

A Congolese Muslim leader, Imam Djuma Twaha disclosed that about 410 prospective pilgrims were initially billed to undertake the pilgrimage.

“There are people who have been preparing for years, sometimes 10 to put together the $4,250 to make this religious trip to Mecca,” he said.

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in Democratic Republic of the Congo is ongoing amidst a complex crisis

Hajj is the second-largest annual gathering of Muslims in the world in the holy city of Mecca, after the Arba’een Pilgrimage in Karbala, Iraq and it is usually crowded with people from around the world.

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