Millions of people every year flock to Mecca to make the Hajj or, outside of the month of Ramadan, the Umrah pilgrimage. However, pilgrimages have been suspended due to the COVID-19 coronavirus reports the Times of Israel.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday halted travel to the holiest sites in Islam over fears about a new viral epidemic just months ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, a move coming as the Mideast has over 220 confirmed cases of the illness.
The extraordinary decision by Saudi Arabia stops foreigners from reaching the holy city of Mecca and the Kaaba, the cube-shaped structure the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims pray toward five times a day. It also said travel was suspended to Prophet Muhammad’s mosque in Medina. (source)
This is a tremendous decision being made by the Kingdom. It clearly speaks to the seriousness of the current situation with the virus, and that its spread is a threat to the world.
Likewise, one would want to take special precautions in churches and other places of worship, which are known to have a lot of people come and go, and so can be inclined to spread illnesses without intending to.