Saudi to Resume Umrah in October

After more than 6 months of suspension, Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday that it would resume Umrah (minor pilgrimage) on October 4, as the kingdom gradually lifts the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saudi official news agency, WAS, reported government plans for the first phase would allow up to 6,000 visitors from Saudi citizens and residents a day at the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The second phase, starting October 18, would allow performance of Umrah at 75% of the capacity in line with health precautionary measures.

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This means allowing 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 worshippers a day.

Muslim travelers from outside Saudi Arabia will be able to perform the Umrah pilgrimage as early as Nov. 1, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Both Grand Mosque in Makkah and Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will operate at full capacity at this phase.

Saudi to Resume Umrah in October - About Islam

Precautionary Measures

An official source at the Ministry of Interior called upon pilgrims, worshipers and visitors to adhere to preventive measures and apply the health instructions and requirements, including wearing masks, keeping a safe distance, and avoiding a physical contact.

Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Arabia has taken drastic measures to halt its spread.

The measures included the closure of the Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah, suspension of Umrah and enforcement of a lockdown.

The kingdom held a dramatically downsized, symbolic hajj pilgrimage in July due to concerns that it could easily have become a global super-spreader event for the virus.

Rather than the actual number of more than 2 million pilgrims the kingdom hosts for the annual event, as little as 1,000 took part after being tested for the virus and quarantined.

Despite taking early and sweeping measures to contain the virus, Saudi Arabia has recorded more than 330,000 cases, including more than 4,500 deaths.