2 Apr 2014

Saudi Arabia halts Guinea, Liberia pilgrim visas

8:30 am on 2 April 2014

Saudi Arabia has announced the suspension of visas for Muslim pilgrims from Guinea and Liberia because of an outbreak of ebola, a deadly haemorrhagic disease, in those two countries.

The Saudi health ministry in said on Tuesday the measure was "due to the danger of the disease and its highly contagious" nature of the disease.

Doctors Without Borders said on Monday the Ebola outbreak in Guinea was an "unprecedented epidemic" that has spread across the west African nation. At least 78 deaths are suspected since January.

Saudi Arabia is home to Islam's holiest sites and attracts millions of pilgrims to the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca and the umrah pilgrimage all year.