Saudi Arabia has allowed international pilgrims to perform Umrah after a seven-month hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak. The move was part of Saudi measures to ease restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the virus.
Some 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshipers per day will be able to perform the ritual at the Grand Mosque.
Some 10,000 foreign pilgrims are already arriving in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah. They will be able to have a 10-day stay in the kingdom.
The testing of pilgrims – who are all 50 years old or younger – for COVID-19 will be continuous. Officials will closely monitor any cases detected.
The pilgrims must isolate for three days after arrival before they go to religious sites, confirmed Al-Jazeera.
On October 4, Saudi authorities allowed Saudis and foreign residents of the kingdom to perform prayers at the Grand Mosque. They performed prayers at a 30% capacity or 6,000 people per day.
Saudi Arabia had suspended entry of Umrah pilgrims over coronavirus fears. On October 18, the Gulf kingdom allowed 15,000 pilgrims per day to perform Umrah. They were also allowed to pray at Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, or the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque, in Medina.
Due to the pandemic, the Hajj pilgrimage this year was different. Only limited people living in Saudi Arabia did the hajj this year. Meanwhile, pilgrims from abroad were not part of it.
Umrah is the Islamic pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca that Muslims can undertake at any time of the year.
Saudi Arabia has registered 347,282 cases, including 5,402 deaths, since the first case of coronavirus was detected in the kingdom in March.
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