RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will gradually resume Umrah pilgrimage from October 4, the kingdom’s Ministry of Interior announced on Tuesday.
The ministry said the decision was made after assessing the coronavirus situation and in response to the desire of Muslims around the world to perform the ritual.
In the first phase, 6,000 citizens and expatriates from within the kingdom will be allowed to perform Umrah per day from October 4, the ministry said in a statement. The second phase will increase the Grand Mosque’s capacity to 75 per cent, which would include 15,000 pilgrims and 40,000 worshippers a day from October 18.
In the third phase, pilgrims from abroad would be allowed to perform Umrah from November 1 with at full capacity of 20,000 pilgrims and 60,000 worshippers per day. The fourth stage will see the Grand Mosque return to normal, when all the COVID-19 risks have gone away.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is to launch an application called “I’tamarna.” to regulate the entry of pilgrims, worshippers, and visitors, ensure adherence to health standards, and facilitate pilgrims to book their journeys.
The Ministry of Interior called on all people visiting the holy sites to adhere to the preventive measures, wear face masks, maintain a safe distance from others, and refrain from physical contact.