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Saudi Arabia to Allow Only Immunized Pilgrims to Makkah

Saudi Arabia to Allow Only Immunized Pilgrims to Makkah

Monday, 5 April, 2021 - 17:30
Worshipers perform prayers at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)

Saudi authorities said Monday only people immunized against Covid-19 will be allowed to perform the year-round Umrah pilgrimage from the start of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The Hajj and Umrah Ministry said in a statement that three categories of people would be considered "immunized" -- those who have received two doses of the vaccine, those administered a single dose at least 14 days prior, and people who have recovered from the infection.

Only those people will be eligible for permits to perform Umrah, as well as to attend prayers in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Makkah.

It added that the condition also applies for entry into the Prophet's Mosque in the holy city of Madinah.

The ministry said the policy starts with Ramadan, which is due to begin in mid-April, but it was unclear how long it would last.

Saudi Arabia has reported more than 393,000 coronavirus infections and 6,700 deaths from Covid-19.

The Kingdom's Health Ministry said it has administered more than five million coronavirus vaccines.

In a relaxation of coronavirus curbs last October, Saudi Arabia opened the Grand Mosque for prayers for the first time in seven months and partially resumed the Umrah pilgrimage.

The Umrah usually attracts millions of Muslims from across the globe each year.

Authorities said the Umrah will be allowed to return to full capacity once the threat of the pandemic has abated.

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