Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia’s Hajj, Umrah minister advises pilgrims to get vaccinated

Published: Updated:

Muslims who want to perform the Umrah pilgrimage are advised to receive the coronavirus vaccine beforehand, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Benten told Al Arabiya on Tuesday.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

Preventative protocols will continue to be in place, but as a precautionary measure it is advised that all those who wish to perform the ritual take the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

More than 100,000 people have already taken the vaccine, al-Ekhbariyah TV reported on Wednesday.

The Kingdom offers free vaccinations for all citizens and residents.

Masks are required at all times during Umrah, and the age limit on pilgrims is still in place, Benten added.

According to authorities, pilgrims must be between the age of 18 and 50 to be allowed to perform Umrah.

Social distancing is enforced at all times to prevent crowding, and the courtyards are sanitized repeatedly throughout the day using more than 2,500 liters, of environmentally-friendly sterilizers.

Medical teams have also been stationed in several areas around the courtyards, and an isolation and medical check-up room has been designated in case of a suspected coronavirus case.

The precautionary measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of all visitors, a spokesman for the GeneralPresidency for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque told Al Arabiya when Umrah pilgrims were first allowed to perform the ritual in November.