Saudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage Over Coronavirus Fear

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Restrictions are temporary and will be continuously reviewed by the health authorities

Saudi Arabia has placed a temporary ban on Umrah pilgrims in an attempt to ensure public safety by preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Most foreign pilgrims often visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah before or after the completion of their religious duties in Makkah, this has also been halted.

It is one of a number of precautionary restrictions announced early on Thursday as health authorities in the Kingdom closely monitor the spread of the virus. Tourist-visa holders from countries judged to pose a particularly high risk of spreading the virus will also be denied entry.

In addition, Saudi nationals and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council nations will not be able to use a national identity card to travel to and from the Kingdom for the time being. Exceptions to this shall be granted to Saudis returning home, and citizens of GCC countries who are in the Kingdom and want to return to their home countries provided that they left or entered the Kingdom using a national identity card.

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Health authorities at entry points will verify which countries travelers visited before arriving in Saudi Arabia and apply all necessary precautionary measures.

Saudi officials stressed that the restrictions are temporary and will be continuously reviewed by the health authorities. They reiterated the Kingdom’s support for and implementation of international efforts to limit the spread of the virus, and the Foreign Ministry urged citizens not to travel to the countries worst affected by the coronavirus.

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Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.

Earlier, it emerged that seven Saudis are among the latest coronavirus cases in Bahrain and Kuwait. The Bahraini Ministry of Health on Wednesday said six Saudi women have tested positive for the virus.

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They had arrived at Bahrain International Airport on a flight from Iran. The total number of confirmed cases in the country stands at 26. Studies at schools and universities have been suspended for two weeks in an effort to limit the spread of the virus.

Kuwait announced the first case of a Saudi citizen infected by the virus. The man, who had arrived in the country from the Iranian city of Mashhad, has been placed in quarantine for 14 days. There have been 26 confirmed cases of the virus to date in Kuwait.

The Saudi Ministry of Health has been providing neighboring Arab countries with advice and guidelines for controlling infectious diseases such as the coronavirus and dealing with health emergencies.

Dr. Hani bin Abdul Aziz Jokhdar, the deputy minister of public health, said that the guidelines were based on Saudi Arabia’s experience of protecting the health and well-being of pilgrims during Hajj season.

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He led the Kingdom’s delegation at a meeting of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Ministers for Health on Wednesday at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo.

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Saudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage Over Coronavirus Fear - Brand SpurSaudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage Over Coronavirus Fear - Brand Spur

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Saudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage Over Coronavirus Fear - Brand SpurSaudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage Over Coronavirus Fear - Brand Spur

Latest News

Asia Pacific Rayon Raises US$300m from National and International Affiliated Banks to Expand Production Capacity

  • Continued capital expenditure aims to boost production and support the recovery of Indonesian economy
  • Loan agreements aligned with Indonesian Government's strategy to drive investment growth in 2021
  • APR is a member of the RGE group of companies


JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Media OutReach - 12 April 2021 - Asia Pacific Rayon (APR), the largest integrated rayon fiber producer in Indonesia, today announced that it has secured a syndicated loan facility of Rp 4.5 trillion (US$300 million) with national and international affiliated banks. The funding will be used to support continued capital investment in the company's production facilities at Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau Province, Sumatra.

APR is vertically integrated through its supply chain, from renewable fiber plantations to high-value textile development. It commenced operations in 2019 and was formally inaugurated by President Jokowi Widodo in February 2020. APR plans to increase its production capacity over the coming year to capture the strong growth potential of viscose staple fiber (VSF), strengthening its market position in Indonesia and in export markets across the region. APR is a member of the RGE group of companies. Founded by Sukanto Tanoto, RGE manages a group of resource-based manufacturing companies with global operations.

The syndicated loan participating banks are PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk, PT Bank Central Asia Tbk, PT Bank Pan Indonesia Tbk, PT Bank Pembangunan Daerah Jawa Barat, PT Bank Woori Saudara Indonesia 1906 Tbk and PT Bank KEB Hana Indonesia

The joint mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners for the syndicated loan are PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk, PT Bank Central Asia Tbk, and PT BANK Pan Indonesia Tbk.

Basrie Kamba, Director, Asia Pacific Rayon, said: "This funding will be used to support continued investment in our operations in Kerinci. Rayon fiber, or viscose, is a textile raw material derived from sustainably managed plantations. As rayon is both renewable and biodegradable, it supports the trend towards sustainable fashion in Indonesia and in other markets around the world."

APR's planned expansion is aligned with the Indonesian Government's strategy to increase investment and boost employment to support the recovery of the country's economy and address the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the passing into law of the Omnibus Bill in October last year to streamline investment and stimulate job creation, President Widodo said last month that investment would be the key factor in achieving 5% economic growth in 2021.

"This loan facility and our continued investment in our operations are evidence of the growth potential of the viscose rayon sector in Indonesia and around the world. We are committed to supporting the Indonesian Government's efforts to improve the investment climate in export-oriented manufacturing industries, and its efforts to create upstream jobs in plantations and the processing of raw materials, and downstream opportunities in textile factories and related businesses," said Basrie.

Hari Setiawan, Executive Vice President of PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk said : "As Representative of JMLAB and all lenders, I hope this collaboration will be useful to support the growth and development of PT Asia Pacific Rayon in increasing production and operations and also supporting the recovery of Indonesia's export growth."

"Support from BCA and other Banks reflect our confidence in APR, and as our contribution to promote a sustainable and environment friendly industry. We hope this cooperation will tighten our relationship as well," said Susiana Santoso, Executive Vice President of PT Bank Central Asia Tbk.


About Asia Pacific Rayon

Asia Pacific Rayon is the first fully integrated viscose rayon producer in Asia. Located in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, the company uses the latest production technology to produce high-quality rayon to meet textile needs. APR is committed to becoming a leading viscose rayon producer with the principles of sustainability, transparency and operational efficiency, serves the interests of the community and the country, and provides value to customers. APR is part of the RGE (Royal Golden Eagle) group of resource-based manufacturing companies. Sustainability is fundamental to APR. The APR Sustainability Policy, updated in September 2020, include additional commitments on pulp sourcing and clean manufacturing.


About RGE

RGE Pte Ltd manages a group of resource-based manufacturing companies with global operations. Our work ranges from the upstream, comprising sustainable resource development and harvesting, to downstream, where our companies create diverse value-added products for the global market. Our commitment to sustainable development underpins our operations, as we strive towards what is good for the community, good for the country, good for climate, good for customer, and good for company. RGE was founded in 1973. The assets held by RGE companies today exceed US$20 billion. With more than 60,000 employees, we have operations in Indonesia, China, Brazil, Spain and Canada and continue to expand to engage newer markets and communities. www.rgei.com

Saudi Arabia Suspends Entry for Umrah Pilgrimage Over Coronavirus Fear - Brand Spur
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