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Saudi Suspends Granting Visas To Ebola Affected African Countries

From Ganiyu Nasirudeen

Sequel to outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West African sub region in March this year and the alarming rate of its casualty,  the Saudi Arabia authorities have suspended granting visas to workers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leon.

The measure which was taken by the Saudi’s Ministries of Foreign and Health was to avert the spread of Ebola in the kingdom. The affected countries since the outbreak were the most hit – having recorded highest death rate out of over 1,500 according to World Health Organization (WHO).

The decision may also not be unconnected to the coming annual  hajj rites by the Muslim faithful in the Kingdom. Coincidentally, the directives came barely  a week to the commencement of airlifting of the intending pilgrims in various parts of the globe.

The Spiritual exercise is the world’s biggest Muslim gathering, which draws not less than two million people to Saudi Arabia every year, many of them coming from the West African countries.

However, the temporary suspension it was gathered would not affect granting labour visas from the countries in question, as the statistics of workers from them is very low.

Meanwhile, Saudi Ministry of Labour has mandated laboratory tests on every foreigners from West African countries before coming to the country.

Similar decision was made by the Saudi in April this year, when it announced the suspension of visas for pilgrims from Guinea and Liberia.

WHO latest casualty report reveals Ebola has killed 694 in Liberia, 430 in Guinea, 422 in Sierra Leon and six in Nigeria. This, it indicated is out of 3,069 total cases reported in the world.




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