Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia allows Umrah gradually from October 4

Hajj pilgrims social distancing as a coronavirus preventative measure while circumambulating around the Kaaba in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 29, 2020. (AFP)

Saudi Arabia will begin gradually allowing Umrah pilgrimage starting from October 4, state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday citing the Ministry of Interior.

Umrah is a pilgrimage to Mecca. However, unlike Hajj, it is not mandatory, can be completed within a few hours, and can be performed year-round. Some Umrah pilgrims choose to visit the Prophet’s mosque in Medina.

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Based on the authorities’ reports of the developments of the coronavirus pandemic and the aspiration of many Muslims at home and abroad to perform Umrah, allowing Umrah pilgrimage was approved, given the necessary COVID-19 health precautions are enforced, SPA reported.

Allowing Umrah will be done gradually in different stages:

The first stage: Allowing citizens and nationals inside the Kingdom to perform Umrah starting from October 4, with a 30 percent capacity limit that ensures adherence to coronavirus precautionary measures, which translates to 6,000 pilgrims per day in the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

The second stage: Allowing citizens and nationals inside the Kingdom to perform Umrah pilgrimage, visit the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, and pray in Two Holy Mosques starting from October 18, with a 75 percent capacity limit that ensures adherence to coronavirus precautionary measures, which translates to 15,000 pilgrims per day and 40,000 worshippers per day in the Grand Mosque in Mecca. As well as a 75 percent capacity limit that ensures adherence to coronavirus precautionary measures in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

The third state: Allowing citizens and nationals inside and outside the Kingdom to perform Umrah pilgrimage, visit the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, and pray in Two Holy Mosques starting from November 1 and until the official end of the coronavirus pandemic or the announcement of the danger having passed.

This will be allowed with 100 percent capacity limit that ensures adherence to coronavirus precautionary measures, which translates to 20,000 Umrah pilgrims per day and 60,000 worshippers per day. The same capacity limit will be enforced in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

“The arrival of pilgrims and visitors from outside the Kingdom will be gradual, and from countries the Ministry of Health determines pose no health risk with regards to the coronavirus.”

The fourth stage: Allowing citizens and nationals inside and outside the Kingdom to perform Umrah pilgrimage, visit the Rawdah in the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, and pray in Two Holy Mosques, with 100 percent of the natural capacity of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.

This stage will begin once the Saudi authorities decide that the pandemic’s risks are neutralized.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 23 September 2020 KSA 00:14 - GMT 21:14
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