RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has announced gradual resumption of Umrah and visits to the Two Holy Mosques with a limited number of pilgrims, starting from Oct. 4, 2020.
Saudi media reports quoted officials from the Ministry of Interior saying that based on the reports of the competent authorities regarding coronavirus developments and in response to the aspirations of many Muslims at home and abroad to perform Umrah, and based on the leadership’s keenness on the health and safety of the visitors the Two Holy Mosques, a royal approval has been given to allow the performance of Umrah and visits to the Two Holy Mosques gradually while taking the necessary health preventative measures.
Officials said that in the first phase, citizens and expatriates from within the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah at a capacity of 30 percent from Oct. 4 that translates to 6,000 pilgrims per day following the health precautionary measures of the Grand Mosque.
In the second phase, citizens and expatriates inside the Kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah, visit the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and pray in Two Holy Mosques, starting from Oct. 18, with a 75 percent capacity limit that is equivalent of nearly 15,000 pilgrims per day and 40,000 worshippers per day following the health precautionary measures for the Grand Mosque, as well as 75 percent of the capacity in line with the health precautionary measures for the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque.
In the third phase, pilgrims from abroad would be allowed to perform Umrah as of Nov. 1 with a full capacity of 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshipers per day and it will continue until the official end of the coronavirus pandemic or the official announcement that the danger is over.
Officials said that the arrival of Umrah performers and visitors from outside the Kingdom shall be gradual from the countries that are free from health risks related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the fourth phase, visit and prayers by citizens and expatriates from inside and outside the Kingdom, at 100 percent of the normal capacity of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque will be allowed, only when the competent authority decides that the risks of the pandemic has vanished.
Meanwhile, the entry of pilgrims, worshipers and visitors shall be regulated through the application (Etamarna), which will be launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, with the aim of implementing the health standards and controls approved by the Ministry of Health and the competent authorities.
Officials said the Saudi authorities want pilgrims, worshipers and visitors to adhere to preventive measures and apply the health instructions and requirements, including wearing face masks, keeping a safe distance, and avoiding a physical contact.