Muslim pilgrims, keeping social distance and wearing face masks, perform Tawaf during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in the holy city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that 10 million pilgrims have successfully performed Umrah since Oct. 4 last year, following the launch of its “safe Umrah” procedures and the gradual return of pilgrims to the Two Holy Mosques.
It also revealed that more than 12,000 visas have been issued since the Kingdom once again began to welcome pilgrims from other countries on Aug. 10 this year.
The ministry said it continues to make every effort to protect the health and safety of pilgrims, worshippers and visitors to the mosques, and urged everyone to follow all instructions and adhere to the precautionary measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Officials aim to reach a capacity of 3.5 million pilgrims, visitors and worshippers a month. Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat, the deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, said the current capacity is 70,000 pilgrims a day.
He added that full vaccination is a prerequisite for the granting of permits to Umrah pilgrims and other worshippers who wish to visit the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosque. The permits are issued through the Tawakkalna application. Health authorities in the Kingdom have approved the use of vaccines for all people over the age of 12 years old.
Mashat said that the ministry reopened Umrah for pilgrims from other countries on Aug. 10. A system of procedures, controls and requirements for their arrival, including a recognized certificate confirming immunization with an approved vaccine, was prepared in coordination with all relevant authorities to ensure the safety of all pilgrims, he added.
Saudi authorities said they are continually updating the list of countries from which pilgrims can enter the Kingdom, based on pandemic developments and health indicators, and the minister said the number arriving from other nations is steadily increasing.
International visitors are advised to register their vaccination status on the Muqeem platform 72 hours before traveling to the Kingdom. Pilgrims can also receive assistance from Ministry of Hajj and Umrah care centers.
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