Saudi Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat revealed that some 400,000 pilgrims are expected to perform the Umrah during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which begins in early April.
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said: "The Umrah is open. There is no limit to how many travelers will come from outside Saudi Arabia. The daily numbers will be determined according to the capacity at the Grand Mosque."
He added that as the Kingdom gradually eased coronavirus-related restrictions, the number of Umrah pilgrims began to rise. It now welcomes hundreds of thousands of pilgrims per day.
Mashat said the lifting of restrictions was carefully assessed and the pandemic situation in the Kingdom is reassuring. He noted the high vaccination rate and level of health services.
Moreover, he highlighted the eatmarna app that was developed by the health ministry that has facilitated official processes for pilgrims from around the world.
Saudi Arabia has not set a limit to how many pilgrims it will receive. Anyone who can obtain a Umrah permit is welcome in the Kingdom, he stressed.
Asked about how many Hajj pilgrims will likely carry out the holy journey this year, he replied that it was too soon to tell.
He explained that the health ministry was still assessing the development of the pandemic and its impact.
Mashat was speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Conference and Exhibition of Hajj and Umrah Services, “Transformation towards Innovation”. The event is organized by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah in cooperation with the Doyof Al-Rahman Program, which is one of the executive programs of the Saudi Vision 2030.
Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah region, kicked off the event at the Jeddah Superdome. Ministers from over 20 countries were present at the opening.