Saudi to allow entry of foreign pilgrims from Sunday

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Saudi Arabia will allow foreign pilgrims, between the age of 18 and 50, to enter the country to perform ‘Umrah’ (the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca) starting from Sunday onwards, the media reported.

This move marks the third phase of the gradual relaxation of Umrah services, reports Gulf News.

According to the precautionary measures and preventive protocols issued by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, pilgrims will be required to remain in quarantine for three days upon their arrival in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Under these regulations, pilgrims must possess a PCR medical test certificate showing that they are Covid-19 negative, issued not more than 72 hours from the time of taking sample until the time of departure to the Kingdom, the Saudi Okaz newspaper said in a report.

The latest development comes after Mecca’s Grand Mosque on October 4 reopened its doors to the first group of pilgrims performing Umrah after six months of Covid-19 restrictions.

As part of its measures to combat the pandemic, Saudi Arabia had suspended the Umrah pilgrimage and prayers in mosques in mid-March, reports Arab News.

The Kingdom also halted international flights and implemented a lockdown.

As of Sunday, Saudi Arabia has reported a total of 335,997 coronavirus cases and 4,850 deaths.