Saudi Arabia resumes Umrah pilgrimage after seven months

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reopened the Muslim holy places for Umrah pilgrimage on Sunday (Today), local media has reported.

The Saudi government took the decision after implementing extensive health precautions and COVID-19 guidelines.

According to Saudi officials, the Umrah will be revived in three stages. In the initial phase, only 6,000 citizens and residents in the kingdom are allowed to perform Umrah. Furthermore, the pilgrims have been given time of three hours to perform their Umrah rituals.

The pilgrims will be divided into groups to ensure social distancing within the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Worshippers will now be able to perform the ritual of circling the sacred Kaaba along socially distanced paths.

Meanwhile, the Saudi government intends to increase the number of pilgrims to 15,000 per day from October 18, while 40,000 people allowed to perform prayers at the mosque.

Visitors from abroad will be permitted from November 1, when capacity will be raised to 20,000 pilgrims, with 60,000 people allowed into the mosque. The pilgrims are bound to get themselves register via a special application called ‘Amrana’.

The pilgrims hailing from Pakistan and other countries will be allowed to perform the religious ritual from 15 Raibul Awal.

Saudi Arabia had restricted Umrah and Hajj pilgrimages in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.