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Saudi Arabia to forbid non-vaccinated pilgrims from performing Umrah from Ramadan onwards Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi Arabia to forbid non-vaccinated pilgrims from performing Umrah from Ramadan onwards

Saudi Arabia is to permit umrah pilgrims only if they are vaccinated [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 5 April, 2021

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Saudi Arabia is taking precautions to avoid new Covid outbreaks by banning non-vaccinated pilgrims from performing Umrah, starting from Ramadan.
Saudi authorities said Monday only people vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to perform the year-round Umrah pilgrimage, starting from the holy month of Ramadan.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said in a statement that only "immunised people" will be granted permits to perform Umrah as well as prayers in the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca.

This comes just days after the Saudi minister of health announced that only those who had received the jab would be permitted to perform Hajj.

Hajj is a pilgrimmage to the Kaaba in Mecca that all Muslims must perform during their lifetime. It occurs just once a year.

Read more: Mecca opens doors to outside visitors for the first time since Covid-19 closure

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, there have been restrictions on visiting Islam's holiest sites.

For instance, only 1,000 Saudi citizens were allowed to perform Hajj in 2020.

Meanwhile, Riyadh only recommenced Umrah pilgrimages for foreign visitors on 1 November, after an eight-month pause.

This comes as Ramadan approaches, a time typically known for social gatherings in Muslim communities.

Fearing another outbreak of the virus, many other Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, have recently decided to bring back restrictions.

For its part, Saudi Arabia will be sanitising the Grand Mosque 10 times per day during Ramadan in a bid to avoid infections.

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