Makkah (UNA-OIC) – The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced the start of receiving Umrah performers of citizens and residents, in addition to gradually receiving Umrah requests from various countries of the world, starting from Monday, 9 August 2021.
The Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque will receive a capacity of up to 60,000 Umrah performers and visitors over eight operating periods. The overall capacity will be increased to two million per month.
Permits to perform Umrah, visit and prayers shall be issued through Eatmarna and Tawakkalna” apps, amid an integrated system of services and preventive measures, taken by Saudi Arabia to ensure the safety and health of those wishing to perform the Umrah and visit rituals.
Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat said that the ministry has worked in coordination with other appropriate authorities prior to the start of the 2021/2022 Umrah season, to develop executive mechanisms and create a safe and accessible environment for the Umrah performers throughout their journey to achieve security, safety and human health.
Regarding the standards of safe transportation services, he explained that the number of passengers on each bus will not exceed 50 percent of the bus capacity, in order to maintain a safe distance between the occupants, while sterilizers will be made available.
Mashat also said that the ministry is working, in coordination with the competent authorities to determine the countries, from where Umrah performers shall come, as well as their numbers on a periodic basis, in accordance with the classification of preventive measures.
He added that the countries, from where Umrah performers and visitors are coming, shall meet the Kingdom’s requirements and its approval of the qualified service providers (Umrah and transport companies, and hotels), as per the regulations of this exceptional stage, precautionary measures and health protocols.
The deputy minister stated that service providers have to display their services through e-marketing platforms approved by the Saudi Central Reservation System, and e-ratification by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah for contracts to be concluded between foreign agents and Saudi Umrah companies, in line with the requirements of remote work for the protection against the threat of the coronavirus spread.
On the health protocols for Umrah performers from within the Kingdom, he said that COVID-19 vaccination will be a prerequisite for the performance of Umrah and prayers at the Grand Mosque, and the Prophet’s Mosque visit, in accordance with the three immunization categories shown by the Tawakkalna mobile app (those who received two COVID-19 vaccine doses, those who have spent 14 days after receiving the first dose, or those who have become immune after recovery from infection). This is applicable for all immunized age groups for Umrah performers from inside the Kingdom.
As for the Umrah performers coming from outside Saudi Arabia, a certificate of immunization authenticated by the official authorities in their countries must be attached with the requested documents for the performance of the rituals, on the condition that the vaccines are approved in the Kingdom.
Arrivals from countries whose citizens are not yet allowed direct entry into the Kingdom have to abide by the institutional quarantine procedures, as per the mechanisms approved by the competent Saudi authorities.
The Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah emphasized the need for commitment to the organizational plans and health procedures set by the ministry, in cooperation with the competent authorities to ensure the safety of Umrah performers and service providers, and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. He also stressed the need for obtaining an Umrah permit through Tawakkalna or Eatamarna apps before proceeding to Makkah to perform the Umrah rituals.