Pictures show Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque being sterilised after the country took the ‘unprecedented’ step of banning foreign pilgrims from entering months before the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Sanitation workers collected prayer mats as they cleaned the area outside Islam’s holiest shrine the Kaaba and Muslim worshippers were seen wearing protective masks after the country announced the ban.
Authorities in Riyadh said the ban was temporary, but did not specify how long it may last. The Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement ‘the kingdom’s government has decided to [suspend] entry to the kingdom for the purpose of umrah and visit to the prophet’s mosque temporarily’.
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