On Wednesday, July 24, the Saudi Arabian government announced that it will no longer issue visas to individuals traveling from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) amid the Ebola outbreak in the country. The suspension applies to all individuals traveling from the DRC and is likely to impact those who planned to participate in the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca (Saudi Arabia) in August.
On July 17, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in the DRC's North Kivu and Ituri provinces constitutes a "public health emergency of international concern." The WHO defines a "public health emergency of international concern" as an "extraordinary event" that constitutes a public health risk to multiple states through the international spread of a disease and which may require an international response. As of late July, officials have recorded 2592 EVD cases resulting in at least 1743 deaths in the DRC. This Ebola outbreak is considered the second-worst in history.
Saudi Arabia issued a similar response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 by suspending visas from affected countries.
Individuals traveling from the DRC to Saudi Arabia are advised to confirm visa and entry requirements.
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