pilgrims

Saudi Says Only ‘Immunized’ Pilgrims Allowed In Mecca

Saudi authorities have confirmed on Monday that only people who have been immunized against Covid-19 will be allowed to perform the year-round umrah pilgrimage from the start of Ramadan.

In a statement issued this week, the hajj and umrah ministry said that 3 categories of people would be considered to be “immunized”.

These categories include those who have received two doses of the vaccine, those administered a single dose at least 14 days prior as well as those who have recovered from the infection.

Eligible for Permits

Only those who fall in either of those 3 categories will be eligible for permits to perform umrah and attend prayers in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca.

Furthermore, the ministry said that the condition also applies for entry into the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina.

It also said that the policy starts with the Ramadan but it was unclear how long it would last.

Rise in infections

pilgrims

The poIicy has come into play following an uptick in coronavirus infections so it’s unclear as to whether it would be extended to the annual hajj pilgrimage later this year.

Saudi has reported over 393,000 coronavirus infections and 6,700 deaths due to the Covid-19 virus.

The health ministry said it has administered over 5 million coronavirus vaccines to date.

A Long Wait

Some of the coronavirus rules have been relaxed since October 2020 whereby Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the first time in seven months and partially resumed the umrah pilgrimage.

In “normal times” the umrah usually attracts millions of Muslims from across the world each and every year.

Authorities confirmed that the umrah will be allowed to return to its full capacity once the threat of the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.