The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has urged intending pilgrims from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia for Umrah or to visit the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah to suspend the arrangement until further notice.
In a statement by its Head, Public Affairs, Fatima Sanda Usara on Thursday, NAHCON said the advice has become necessary following the temporary suspension of Umrah by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.
The virus has spread to about 48 countries globally with a record of over 82,164 confirmed cases as at 27th February 2020.
The COVID-19 has recorded many fatalities that has forced some countries with confirmed cases to close down schools and other social gatherings.
“It is worthy and gladding to note that the National Centre for Disease Control, an Agency under the Federal Ministry of Health, as at today Thursday 27th February, 2020 reported that there is no recorded case of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
“The Federal Ministry of Health has taken all the necessary measures to prevent the disease in Nigeria.
“Therefore, NAHCON identifies with this courageous step by Saudi Arabia and affirms its commitment and cooperation in the interest of world Muslims and humanity in general. This measure was taken in accordance with approved international standards towards curtailing spread of the disease.
“Consequently, NAHCON cautions Nigerian pilgrims for Umrah to note that this suspension is effective on those who have already been issued travel visas and about to embark on the journey as well as for those planning to do so in the nearest future.
“NAHCON urges all stakeholders to comply with the directive and await further instructions from the Kingdom’s authorities,” the statement said.