Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia to launch unified travel permit on Tuesday, says ministry

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Saudi Arabia will launch a unified travel permit which applies to the entire Kingdom amid the coronavirus lockdown, according to an official source at the Ministry of Interior.

The new permit will take effect from 3.00 p.m. local time on April 21, 2020, according to the source which was referenced in a Twitter post by Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Interior.

Saudi Arabia has imposed 24-hour lockdowns in major cities aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus, with residents in different locations using different permits. The new permit system would unify the procedure across the entire Kingdom.

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Ramadan under lockdown

This year's Islamic month of Ramadan will be held under the extraordinary conditions imposed by the coronavirus for the first time.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars urged Muslims around the world to pray at home during Ramadan if they reside in countries that have imposed lockdowns or curfew to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

“Muslims should set an example by performing their religious duties while adhering to the preventative and precautionary measures issued by relevant authorities in the countries they live in,”

The authorities advised Muslims to partake in their religious practices, such as praying, but refrain from causing harm to others.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

Coronavirus, also known as corona and COVID-19, can spread primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia had said on Friday that Ramadan communal taraweeh and Eid prayers should be held at home to avoid spreading the virus.

Muslims line up, side-by-side, shoulders touching when praying in groups, also known as jamaa’a. However, several Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and others have suspended group prayers in mosques until further notice to slow the spread of the virus. Egypt officially suspended all public group iftar and activities earlier this month as a precautionary measure as well.

Al Arabiya English’s Joanne Serrieh contributed to this report.

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