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Mecca completes organizational procedures ahead of receiving foreign Umrah pilgrims

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Authorities in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca confirmed it has completed organizational procedures at the Holy Grand Mosque as it prepares to receive Umrah pilgrims from outside the Kingdom, the body in charge of the Holy sites confirmed.

The General Presidency for the Affairs of Two Holy Mosques said it has prepared special routes for organizing the entry, exit, tawaf (circumambulation) and sa'ee (running back and forth between Safa and Marwa) of the holy site.

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“The General Presidency has prepared early through organizing all Grand Mosque hallways, circumambulation area, squares and their readiness before the arrival of Umrah performers,” Assistant President of the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque Dr. Saad bin Muhammad al-Mheimeid was quoted as saying by the Saudi Press Agency.

“He also stressed the readiness of all field leaderships at the Grand Mosque, where stakeholders will follow up and improve the performance of operational plans by the leaderships to realize envisioned goals and provide a safe environment, referring to the readiness of human and machinery potentials amidst a healthy and safe environment that meets all international health standards and the wise leadership’s aspirations towards offering the best services for visitors of the mosque,” SPA added.

Saudi Arabia has been preparing for an influx of travelers as the country plans to welcome pilgrims performing Umrah from August 9.

Borders officially opened to international tourists on August 1.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has placed restrictions on the numbers of pilgrims allowed to visit the Kingdom’s holy sites.

A first batch consisting only of 20,000 people will be allowed to perform Umrah, according to Jeddah daily Okaz.

The cap on pilgrims will be gradually lifted, a spokesman for the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Hisham Saeed, told Okaz.

Only 60,000 residents and Saudi nationals were permitted to perform the Hajj pilgrimage this year, in order to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In pre-pandemic years, more than two million people would perform the weeklong pilgrimage.

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