23 C
Kuwait City
October 27, 2020
Gulflance
Home » Covid-19: Saudi Arabia to resume Umrah after 7-month pause – News
Khaleejtimes

Covid-19: Saudi Arabia to resume Umrah after 7-month pause – News

Source link


The pilgrims will be divided into groups to ensure social distancing within the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

Saudi Arabia will reopen the holy places for the year-round umrah pilgrimage on Sunday, scaled back and with extensive health precautions, seven months after coronavirus prompted its suspension.

The umrah, the pilgrimage that can be undertaken at any time, usually attracts millions of Muslims from across the globe each year.

It will be revived in three stages, with the initial phase seeing just 6,000 citizens and residents already within the Kingdom allowed to take part each day.

“In the first stage, the umrah will be performed meticulously and within a specified period of time,” Hajj Minister Mohammad Benten told state television last week.

He said pilgrims will be divided into groups to ensure social distancing within the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

Worshippers will on Sunday be able to perform the ritual of circling the sacred Kaaba along socially distanced paths.

On October 18, the number of pilgrims will be increased to 15,000 per day, with a maximum of 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 decision to resume the pilgrimage was in response to the “aspirations of Muslims home and abroad” to perform the ritual and visit the holy sites, the interior ministry said last month.

It added that the umrah would be allowed to return to full capacity once the threat of the pandemic has abated.

Until then, the health ministry will vet countries from which pilgrims are allowed to enter based on the health risks.

Those wishing to perform the umrah must apply through two mobile applications: one to register they are free from the virus, and another from which they can obtain a permit.

Logistical challenge

Saudi Arabia suspended the umrah in March and scaled back the annual Haj over fears that the coronavirus could spread the holiest cities.

The Haj went ahead in late July, on the smallest scale in modern history, with only up to 10,000 Muslims allowed to take part.

State media have said that a raft of precautions have been adopted to ward off any outbreaks during the umrah.

The revered Black Stone in the eastern corner of the Kaaba – which it is customary but not mandatory to touch during the pilgrimage – will be out of reach, while the Grand Mosque will be regularly sterilised before and after each group of worshippers.  

Each group will be accompanied by a health worker and medical teams will be on the ground in case of an emergency.

The pilgrimages are a massive logistical challenge, with colossal crowds cramming into the holy sites, making them vulnerable to contagion.





Click here to read more news from @khaleejtimes

Related posts

When can a child sit in the front seat? UAE police clarifies – News

gulflance

Returning Dubai residents must have flight tickets, approval – News

gulflance

Emirates issues advisory amid coronavirus outbreak – News

gulflance

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Please spend a minute

Gulflance Poll

Which is worst social media?
Vote Now
close-link

You're currently offline