Saudi Arabia to allow vaccinated worshippers from abroad to perform Umrah

Riyadh, Aug 8 (EFE).- Saudi Arabia will allow vaccinated Muslim foreigners into the country to perform the Umrah pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, months after it was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, state-run news agency SPA reported Sunday.

The move comes a week after the kingdom decided to open its doors to visitors from all over the world with visas that will be valid for up to three months.

Abdelfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, the Saudi deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, told local media that worshippers must be inoculated with at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine to be allowed to carry out the ritual.

Only pilgrims vaccinated with one of the Saudi-approved vaccines can apply for the Umrah via a mobile application, according to Mashat.

He added that Saudi authorities have taken necessary measures to increase the number of worshippers allowed into the Grand Mosque to 60,000 a day.

The Grand Mosque houses the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building that is considered to be Islam’s most sacred site.

In March 2020, Saudi Arabia stopped the Umrah, which can be undertaken at any time during the year, in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. It only allowed citizens and foreign residents to perform the ritual again seven months later.

In July, Saudi Arabia allowed only 60,000 Muslims living in the country to perform the annual main Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina amid strict health restrictions.


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