Saudi Arabia Asks Pilgrims To Wear Masks Because Of New Virus

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (July 12, 2013)-- Saudi Arabia, which is the epicenter of a new respiratory virus, is asking the pilgrims who are coming from across the Muslim world to wear face masks in crowded places.

The list of Health Ministry recommendations carried by the Saudi Press Agency on Friday also advised the elderly, or those with chronic diseases, to postpone their pilgrimage.

The main pilgrimage season comes later this year but hundreds of thousands also visit the kingdom's holy sites during the month of Ramadan, which began this week.

Saudi Arabia announced two more deaths from the virus on Sunday, bringing to 38 the number of deadly cases in the kingdom.

The new virus is related to SARS, which killed some 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003 and it belongs to a family of viruses that most often cause the common cold.

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