Beginning on August 9, Saudi Arabia will begin to receive Umrah pilgrimage requests for vaccinated believers from abroad.
Saudi Arabia stated that it will receive Umrah pilgrimage requests from vaccinated foreign believers from August 9.
This announcement About 18 months after the kingdom closed its borders to foreign pilgrims due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was broadcast on official media early on Sunday.
The Saudi News Agency stated that the authorities responsible for coordinating foreign pilgrims will “receive Umrah requests from all over the world” from Monday.
According to the report, permits will initially be issued to 60,000 Umrah pilgrims per month, but this number will gradually increase to 2 million per month.
It said that overseas pilgrims must attach an authorized COVID-19 vaccination certificate to their Umrah request.
It added that vaccinated pilgrims from countries on the Saudi Arabia’s prohibited entry list will be subject to institutional quarantine upon arrival.
Umrah is a pilgrimage to the two holiest places of Islam in Mecca and Medina, and can be performed at any time of the year. It is different from the Hajj, which is held once a year.
The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted two pilgrimages, which are usually the main source of income for the kingdom. Under normal circumstances, they make a total of about 12 billion U.S. dollars each year.
Saudi Arabia stopped the Umrah after the pandemic, but reopened it to vaccinated family worshippers in October last year.
Hajj was held this year and in July last year, but the scale was reduced.
In total, Saudi Arabia has registered nearly 532,000 coronavirus cases and more than 8,300 deaths.
Its government has accelerated the nationwide vaccination campaign to revitalize tourism and other industries affected by the pandemic, such as sports competitions and entertainment events.
Anyone who wants to enter government and private institutions (including educational institutions and entertainment venues) and use public transportation must be vaccinated.