Saudi Arabia bans Pilgrims from DR Congo

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Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry says it will not grant visas to pilgrims from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The ministry said the decision was reached following the decision of the World Health to declare the Ebola outbreak in DR Congo a public health emergency of international concern.

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

A muslim leader, Imam Djuma Twaha said Saudi Arabia had initially said that up to 410 people from the central African state could undertake the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca later this month.

“There are people who have been preparing for years, sometimes 10 to put together the $4,250 (£3,400) and make this divine trip to Mecca,” he said.

The WHO declared Ebola a public health emergency of international concern on 17 July but urged countries not to restrict trade or travel.