Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced that it will start gradually receiving Umrah requests from various countries as of August 9, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The ministry will also gradually increase the capacity to reach 2 million pilgrims per month.
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Permits will be issued through the Eatmarna and Tawakkalna mobile applications, amid an integrated system of services and preventive measures, taken by the Kingdom for the safety and health of those wishing to perform the rituals of Umrah and Ziyarah.
Deputy Minister of Hajj Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat explained that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah worked in coordination with other concerned authorities to put in place executive mechanisms and create a safe and accessible environment for the pilgrims throughout their journey.
Mashat added that the number of passengers on buses transporting the pilgrims will not exceed 50 percent capacity to ensure social distancing. Authorities will provide sanitizers and verify the permits of pilgrims issued by the Eatmarna and Tawakkalna applications before boarding the bus.
Mashat indicated that the ministry is working, in coordination with the competent authorities, to determine the countries from which the pilgrims will be permited, and their numbers on a periodic basis according to the classification of preventive measures, and the requirements for the countries from which the pilgrims and visitors come to the Kingdom.
Pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom are required to present a certificate of immunization certified by the official authorities in the country of the pilgrim and it must be attached within the justifications for requesting the performance of the rituals, with the condition that the vaccines be approved.
Authorities at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia’s Mecca have intensified sanitation efforts in preparation for Umrah as part of coronavirus countermeasures.
More than 4,000 workers have begun sanitizing the Grand Mosque and its outdoor parks and facilities over 10 times a day with the use of high-quality sanitizers and perfumes, according to SPA.
Almost 60,000 liters of environment-friendly sterilizers are being used daily during the cleaning process and about 1,200 liters of perfume, the news agency reported.
Only international pilgrims who were vaccinated with either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, or the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 jab will be allowed to perform Umrah, according to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Pilgrims under the age of 18 are prohibited from performing the ritual.
Umrah is the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca that can be performed at any time of the year, in contrast to Hajj.