Umrah Pilgrims Return to Grand Mosque after Hajj

Concluding a successful and safe hajj pilgrimage, Saudi Arabia re-opened the Grand Mosque for the Umrah pilgrimage on Sunday after sterilizing the holy sites.

Pilgrims entered the Grand Mosque through specific gates in order to maintain precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and ensure social distancing, Arab News reported.

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Saad bin Muhammad al-Muhaimid, the deputy head of the affairs of the Grand Mosque, said pilgrims will be received in accordance with the necessary precautionary measures that will ensure the safety of visitors to the Grand Mosque, Saudi Press Agency reported.

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Specific locations have also been allocated for performing prayers and pilgrims will follow markings on the floor when performing tawaf as was seen during Hajj and throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The mosques reopened after the Municipality of Makkah carried out several field tours to sterilize the holy sites.

The work was carried out under the supervision and follow-up of the Services Agency represented by the General Administration of Environmental Sanitation.

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Muslim pilgrims on Friday concluded the annual Hajj pilgrimage. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saudi government cut the number of pilgrims to only 60,000 to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Every able-bodied adult Muslim who can financially afford the trip must perform hajj at least once in a lifetime. Meanwhile, Umrah is a voluntary minor pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca that Muslims can perform at any time of the year. Umrah was suspended in February last year over fears of the coronavirus outbreak.