Saudi Arabia is banning all outdoor activities on its iconic sites of Mecca and Medina, where Mecca is the third-holiest place on Earth.
The move comes as officials are facing growing criticism over a deadly coronavirus pandemic, which has infected at least 9,000 people and killed more than 11,000.
The government’s tourism minister has ordered the closure of all outdoor events for the duration of the coronavillosis pandemic and will require visitors to provide a government-issued identification, according to a statement from the Saudi Tourism Ministry.
The announcement comes as a major coronavillian outbreak is spreading across the region, including in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
The outbreak has forced the cancellation of several major events and shut down dozens of other venues, including some of the world’s most popular museums and hotels.