Saudi Arabia announced today that they want Muslims to hold off until there is more clarity about the coronavirus pandemic before making plans to attend the annual hajj pilgrimage.
Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world usually flock to the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina for the week-long hajj ritual (a once-in-a-lifetime religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim). Hajj is scheduled to begin in late July but the coronavirus outbreak has raised concerns about whether it can or should go ahead given the risk of spreading the disease in large gatherings.
Of note, Saudi Arabia has already suspended the smaller, year-round umrah pilgrimage until further notice. It has also stopped all international passenger flights, and last week quarantined several cities, including Mecca and Medina.